MMJ5 – On The Hoof

When you’re in the depths of rural Shropshire, you take your new friends where you can find them. Meet my mates, the Shire horses! I didn’t have to explain about Me Made June because they couldn’t have cared less.

Many of you have asked how I am pitching myself when I approach perfect strangers to be photographed with me. Do I mention Me Made June? How do they react? Yes, each time I have painstakingly explained that I am taking part in a challenge to wear a self-made item a day in June. (The one exception has been with the Easy Jet air stewards, where I was so overcome with excitement that I could barely get a coherent sentence out.) I point out said item, say lots of us are taking photos of ourselves but that I want to make things a bit different and be photographed with strangers. I usually let people know why I want to be photographed with them – fabulous hair, favourite stall holder etc – and see if they’ll say yes. I’ve had one gentle decline so far. Interestingly, people aren’t that bothered about my makes. (Although, conversely, whoever is behind the camera usually takes great pains to include all of the me-made item in the frame.)

I do try to judge who I approach quite carefully – no one clearly in a rush, hassled with small children, or shouting into a phone as they stride along in their power suits.

Yes, I have been handing over my camera or iphone to perfect strangers, with no ill event. Each and every photo has been accompanied by much laughter and smiling. I love imagining my readers laughing along. Basically, this is one huge love-in that happens to have some self-made clothes at the heart of it. Not bad, eh? I am on a one-woman mission to prove that a) most people are generally good-hearted and b) London is a fantastically diverse city. So diverse and accommodating that a mad woman like myself can run amok!

Come to me, my pretties. It’s MMJ!

Today I am wearing Simplicity 2599. It’s a cotton polyester mix, which makes it perfect for packing on a weekend away as it doesn’t crease. I’ve made about four of these tops – it’s a good basic shell, with frilly options!

All of this horse action is quite out-of-character for me – childhood horse riding lessons scarred me for life. But I’m staying with friends who won’t tolerate silly Londoner urbanite nervous nonsense. I was going to make new horse friends, whether I liked it or not. (Let’s not dwell on the fact that one of the friends I was staying with – one of my oldest friends! – misheard the title of my blog and thought it was called ‘Did You Nick That?’ What does this say about me?)

Here’s one little Welsh pony called Bramble who I really liked:

Bramble giving me the love

Bramble was a badly neglected pony, rescued by my friends. She has a missing eye, bless her, and the kind nature that reminds you why animals are better than people. She snuffled into my hand and gave me lots of calming love.

Meet her companion, Katy:

As you can see from my stretched smile and rigid stance, I’m less relaxed here. Katy’s lovely, but much bigger than Bramble. What is it that I struggle with? The height. The strength. Hooves kicking the stable door, just before a horse breaks for freedom and trammels me beneath her! Yeah, I need a bit more time around these animals before I turn into Seamstress Doolittle. Any tips for relaxing around horses?

That’s it for Sunday! Back to London this afternoon. What will I wear tomorrow? More importantly, who will I meet?

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20 Responses to MMJ5 – On The Hoof

  1. Portia says:

    The perspective on that second photo makes it looklike you’re petting a mini shire horse!! Genius!
    I am so enjoying your MMJ posts. 😉

  2. Erika says:

    I was a horse-girl for about ten years, but I’d still be a bit hesitant around Shires. They’re just so big! Silly of me, when I know that the horse most likely to kick me is a riding school pony. Sometimes I think horses are like dogs: the small, cute ones are usually all over the place, being all bossy and temperamentful, needing very stern hands, while the big, intimidating ones are calmer, slower and gentler. After all, a misbehaving pony or a pudel can both be handled, but a Shire or a great dane just need to be well behaved…

    I’m sorry I’m being bad at commenting right now, but I love your Me-Make-Mates posts, your writing always puts a smile on my face =)

    • gingermakes says:

      Agreed! I used to ride gigantic Clydesdales at a friend’s farm as a little girl, and they couldn’t have been more docile and gentle, but the little pony I had frequently tried to buck me off or run me into tree branches! She was a little thing with a huge dose of bad attitude! 🙂

    • Ooh, don’t worry about comments – so glad you’re reading! Interesting info on horses and size.

  3. Karin says:

    I think you’re very brave and that the challenge you have put on yourself is so fun. I agree, it’s nice to point out once in a while that most of the people are kind, warm and loving. Sometimes one could almost forget, with all the focus on the bad things in the news.

  4. Jane says:

    I love your MMJ posts Karen, in fact the whole family want to see who you’re photographed with each day now! The kids will be thrilled you’ve made friends with horses! Nice top too. x

  5. Now there I was thinking that it was the famous group of Mark & Lard fame!

    Yes it’s great that you are providing such entertainment & spreading a little happiness 🙂

  6. gingermakes says:

    Loving your MMJ photos! Keep up the good work! Re: horses– it’s good to have a wee bit of fear when you’re working with horses. I grew up with them, and the rare occasions when people get hurt by a horse are usually due to a lack of respect for their needs (and their size). They can be nervous/timid/stressed the way that people can be, so if you treat them respectfully and pay attention to their comfort levels (if they’re uncomfortable, they’ll let you know! Their body language is astoundingly clear!), you should get along swimmingly!

  7. Suzanne says:

    I am enjoying you photos with strangers…nice touch. As usual, your clothing creations are beautiful!

  8. Roisin says:

    I’m so enjoying your MMJ posts, Karen – you’re so cute and friendly, and it’s really good fun to watch all these new people encountering your lovely self!

    I love your Lisette tunic, it looks so professional! x

  9. Thank you all so much for your encouragement. It means the world to me!

  10. Tilly says:

    The second photo is like the horse equivalent of the classic tourist-holding-up-the-Leaning-Tower-of-Pisa shot. Amazing. I want one of those mini horses. I’m going to call you the Horse Whisperer from now on.

    Okay, so that might not last too long…

    (DID you nick that?)

  11. Bold Sewist says:

    I am LOVING these posts! And such a nice country diversion! But I’m looking forward to seeing more lovely Londoners tomorrow 🙂

  12. Debi says:

    YAY! Horsies! Love horsies! I love how it looks like you are petting the horse in the second photo…AND oh, Bramble…what a doll!!! I grew up around horses and believe me when I say that they are probably more scared of you than you are of them! Lovely photos and I am LOVING your me-mad-June photos!!

  13. ooobop says:

    I’m with you when it comes to horses! I’m feeling that hesitation! I put it down to being shoved on a shire horse at a school fete at 5 years old and the grown ups thinking it was really funny – not! So glad you are promoting the kind-hearted, fun, sporting nature of Londoners. Totally with you on that too! I feel so privileged to live here. But back to your lovely top which is indeed lovely and cute! I haven’t made anything for me in poly cotton yet. I’m kept away, I guess by the fact that it’s cheap and not 100% cotton but I think thats the snob in me and given that I can’t stand ironing, it should be a fabric staple for me!

  14. senjiva says:

    I LOVE that dress! Oh my goodness that fabric is beautiful. Can I borrow it? Sisterhood of the traveling shift?

  15. a scrappy little thing says:

    I stumbled upon your blog by accident when I was searching for Shire horses. I am LOVING your Me Made June, such a cool idea! Sending you much love from Stonewall, Manitoba, Canada!

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