Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Pow! And my October holiday started with a bang.

I'm going to start this particular post with a story....Way back in 2000 my mum bought a video a very special video that most of us in my family adore, from the acting to the music it holds a special place in our hearts. Why I hear you ask? Well, when my nephew was about five years old he saw this film for the very first time, and whenever he visited my parent's house, this would be his film of choice. He would cosy up beside us, and he would watch it a couple of times through. On one particular day as he was visiting, we put the film on, but half way through my mum decided to make some tea. So, of course, I followed to have a natter, my mum asked my nephew if we should pause the film until we returned but he said no. So, off we went to make some tea and have a natter and on the way back to the living room my mum stopped and waved for me to come closer but to be quiet. As I peeked around the corner of the door frame, there was my little nephew doing a pirouette and then leaping through the air just like the actor in the film (yes, we've all been there, jumping off the sofa pretending to be Baby in Dirty Dancing and Patrick Swayze or my sister is going to catch you. Lol!)   Well, in an effort not to embarrass him my mum and I had to try and stifle our laugh and scurry back to the kitchen with scalding tea in our hands, and to this day he still doesn't know we saw him.   So when I heard a work colleague talking about said film as a musical, I thought 'Hmm! I wonder if I could get some tickets and surprise my mum.'  You see my mum, well, she's had a challenging year and had just been given the all clear in mid-September, so I thought what better way to celebrate than going to see this unique show on the year of my little nephews 21st birthday. You see that film on video that I was talking about earlier was none other than Billy Elliot. My mum and I went on Saturday just past to see it, and I'm still in awe. I want to cry and laugh at the same time (I'm crying* as I write this post, that's how much it's affected me.)  The show was incredible; the actors were magnificent, and I still can't believe that my mum and I have been to see Billy Elliot the Musical. How cool is that?

*With joy, I might add.

xoxo xoxo

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Ten unexpected ways that handmade blankets can make your life better

  1. Keeps you warm during freezing Winter temps or unseasonably cold Spring weather.
  2. Great for cosying up in during movie night, or when getting your Daryl Dixon fix (The Walking Dead).
  3. Perfect comforter for when you feel sick.
  4. The best picnic blanket on earth.
  5. Makes a beautiful, memorable baby gift (you can personalise it too).
  6. It looks nice draped over your sofa or on your bed.
  7. Works well for blanket forts on rainy days.
  8. Gives a nice, comfortable, place to sit during outdoor events.
  9. Says, “I love you this much” when you're needing a cuddle or want to be alone.
  10. A great use for stress relief, snuggle underneath and melt your worries away while eating chocolate of course.
Brrr! I think Autumn is definitely here, the 22nd of September came with a freezing, biting wind and it's not left us.  I thought it would go for the weekend, but no, it hung around and brought miserable rainy, windy weather on Saturday. Saturday was the day we were going to go to Dobbies, but it didn't quite feel right, you know, walking around a garden centre when it's pouring with rain outside, even though we were going to have tea and some lunch while there. So we decided to stay in.  I pottered about knitting some mittens; Paul made me some French Toast (eggy bread) with his artwork drawn in ketchup. He always surprises me with little gems like this.  Then I hunted down some blanket squares from a swap,  I've had these in storage for a while. Maybe, I will put them together this year in time for Christmas, as a wee gift to me.  

Talking about Christmas, Paul and I have been talking about our one or two traditions we have for the festive period; making our mincemeat pies, going to the Christmas Market in Edinburgh, opening our presents while sipping or quaffing Bucks Fizz in our pyjamas and we thought, or I thought maybe we should add a few more traditions to carry over in the years to come.  But do you know what we just sat and looked at each other and couldn't think of anything, lol!  How sad is that? I think I might have to sleep on it or Google it; with the latter sounding very sad indeed. Hahaha!

Have a lovely weekend peeps!
xoxo xoxo

Sunday, September 18, 2016

End of an era

It's been four weeks since the new term started and boy it's been tough trying to get into a routine after eight weeks vacation. I've been able to complete just two new knitted garments in this time, a cardigan and a scarf.  I haven't been able to knit every day since returning to work, so I suppose it's better than nothing.  The garment in the photograph is Audrey in Unst by Gudrun Johnstone, and the other garment which will appear in a separate post once washed and blocked is Scroll Lace Scarf by Ysolda. The yarn used for Audrey is the discontinued yarn Jaeger Baby Merino 4ply which has been sitting in my stash for eternity and was bought from a store in Stirling called McAree Brothers.  Sadly they will be closing their doors next weekend after trading in the city since 1878.  How sad is that! Customers buy school uniforms, have badges embroidered; they sell wool, sewing equipment, craft items; you name it they source what you need. I'm not sure of the circumstances of their closure, but there are rumblings that the Council keep raising the unit rates, and businesses are struggling to keep up.  A very sorry state of affairs, you would think an institution that has been trading for that length of time would be given some leeway.  Anyway,  I can't talk about it any longer as I'm so gobsmacked that they won't be there anymore. So, back to the cardigan pattern, it's wonderful to knit up and easy to follow, my only gripe- I wish the lace part was bigger.  I got a bit bored with all the stockinette stitch but loved the twisted rib on the waist and cuffs and the i-cord bind off around the neck. I can't wait to block this beauty and wear it when the weather turns colder.

Talking about the weather, I've been in the garden a few times since returning to work.  I've been busy prepping for the Autumn and clearing down spent plants; taking cuttings, harvesting seeds and looking after plants that will live until Winter. I think this year I've excelled myself; my garden has given me a lot of work and joy this year not only in display; colour but in produce too. My carrots are still growing, so I've just been picking ones that are a decent size. I've had a fairly good crop and will be planting these, peas and potatoes next year.

                                                                         xoxo xoxo

Sunday, September 04, 2016

We Have Some Winners

Yes, plural. My competition ended at midnight last night; there were a couple of glitches with comments at the beginning; I had the settings turned to Google comments only. Also, my blog is turning ten years old in 24 days time so what better way to celebrate than by honouring a bag to the three people who took the time to comment.  The bags gifted will be the gorgeous ones chosen in your post.  Congratulations guys I hope you like them.  Can you please message me your details either through Ravelry, Facebook or email so I can get them sent to you as soon as possible.

                                                              xoxo xoxo

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Shop Update and Competition

Another month and another post but this time one with a difference. As promised in my previous blog post I have been busy and have stocked up my Folksy store with some cracking bags; some old fabric designs and some new fabric designs. I'm not going to tell you how long it took me to photograph them (lying on my stomach in the garden) or how exasperated my other half got as I confessed that 'I like this one and this one and oh I like this one.'  Since the photos have been made public I've had a lot of interest on social media; The Brother Sewing machine company wanted to feature them on their Instagram site and friends have been oohing and ahhing over them on Facebook.  At the moment my Folksy site is stocking the pyramid bags and stitch markers, there are still more different designs to come and other products too (not just fabric makes).

So on with the competition.  To be in with a chance of winning one of these beautiful bags, there are more designs on my Folksy website just click the link or the colour banner above this text. Just leave a comment on my blog of what bag you would like, why you like the design (not a requirement) along with either your Ravelry ID or your email, in the format of  see example "username at ymail dotcom."  The competition is not just open to British visitors but overseas as well. The closing date for this competition will be midnight GMT on the 3rd of September 2016 and the winner will be announced on the 4th of September 2016.

 Goodluck and happy choosing.


Sunday, July 31, 2016

Bed VS Sewing: Which do you need?

Well, some holiday this is turning out to be... I've been de-cluttering and shifting what seems to be piles of stuff from A to B and then getting distracted by stuff in pile C. Hahaha! My front bedroom which is a spare room with a bed, computer desk, and a sewing table was sadly in need of a declutter. The room wasn't bad; it just needed clearing up and re-organised.  To be honest, we hardly ever use the single bed except for perhaps guests staying over, so when Paul said we could get rid of it and extend my sewing area, hell; I jumped at the chance. So with the bed gone, things started happening pretty quickly. Books started moving around; fabric started getting sorted into weight and colour, sewing equipment started finding new homes and then a biggish purchase was made in the form of an overlocker.  I've been yearning for one of these babies since, well, forever.  So when Paul made a purchase of a new bike, he agreed that I should go ahead and get a new machine. Woohoo!  Who was I to ask twice, off I ran to phone Sewing Machines Direct (yes, this is my rave review).  I phoned late on Wednesday afternoon, and my machine arrived on Thursday afternoon (I live in Central Scotland, and the company is in Wales.)  How quick and cool is that?

So, since my new machine arrived I've been crafting like crazy; overlocking seams on the material for my craft room curtains and then using my regular sewing machine to embroider tiebacks which I then pleated. This was a job that was incredibly satisfying and long needed; the previous curtains were made by Paul's gran and looked a bit dated and old fashioned, extremely well made, but they had ruffles. I've also made a new vest; the tie top cami by House of Pinheiro which was featured in Sewing Network Magazine.  The fabric used is called Bittersweet Red Gingham Cotton Jersey Blend Knit by Girl Charlee. This was a relatively easy top to make, just take a few body measurements, find your favourite vest top; trace it and away you go. I did get a sweat on though when the pattern said to make bias binding; this was needed for the front and back neckline and armholes.  It took me two days to build up the courage to have a go and during that time I must have watched quite a few YouTube videos on how to start.  Verdict: even though this was my first time making bias binding, I think I will be trying this in the future, and I may never buy store bought again. Gasp!

I've also returned to making craft bags;  I put my Folksy shop in holiday mode when I lost my Rhodesian boy and couldn't face opening it again while I was grieving.  I've been thinking about re-opening for a while but life just kind of got in the way.  I've had lots of ideas and I've been busy making a few new products so, stay tuned for a big launch of new stock, different makes and a few giveaways.

The jumper in this post is Chuck and was a test knit for Andi Satterlund over at Untangling Knots.  This is the fourth version of this I've made so far, and I'm hoping to make a few more for the winter season in different colours. I already have 2 x red, cherry and blue, so maybe a forest green or duck egg blue would be a nice change.  What do you think? Colours here and here.


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Crafting for my future

Oh boy.  That was tough. So tough, I thought I would never make it through this week. If it wasn't for Paul, my mum and sister, I think I would have run away. I have been through PTSD and beaten it with EMDR but, the numbness and detachment that I felt on Wednesday was so difficult, that I feel I haven't fully recovered from my ordeal.
At the beginning of June, I agreed to go for a mammogram, my mother's side of the family has had a terrible time with female cancer (grandmother, three sisters, my mum and her cousins). With the exception of my grandmother (ovarian cancer) my mum and her siblings have all been diagnosed with cancer in their left breast. The first appointment was bad enough; the male doctor was quite rude about my weight (I'm carrying some fat around my middle, but for my height, I'm not obese). It took a lot to undress in front of a man, (child abuse survivor) and I hurt for days after my examination.  So you can imagine my panic when two weeks after my initial mammogram I received a letter recalling me. Seeing the words 'further investigation needed' was enough to send my stomach into waves of nausea and to make my mind spin. Mammograms are invasive at the best of times but to throw an ultrasound into the works as well as wait for a further two weeks for the new appointment and not know the reason for being called back, well that nearly tipped me over the edge.  I'm not scared to say that I cried a lot through the two weeks, and I hardly slept.  My mood swings were shocking as was my temper; the slightest little annoyance sent me on a verbal tirade.  Anyway, Tuesday night was horrendous I managed to cry myself to sleep and then woke four hours later drenched in sweat, for the remainder of my time in bed I tossed and turned, and I prayed furiously. I got up when my alarm went off, showered, changed, put make-up on, blow dried my hair, ate two spoonfuls of cereal, threw up, brushed teeth, walked reluctantly to the car without saying a word to Paul. Even now, I don't know how I was able to walk into the hospital, let alone make it to the department without running back out the way I came.  I nearly passed out handing my letter over to the receptionist, but I didn't have to wait long before the radiologist called my name.  I walked numbly into the room with the mammogram machine and was instantly told I had been called back as they had found something on the first image of my right breast that needed further exploration (looking past the radiologist I saw the original image with a dense white circle on it).  I broke down. I think the radiologist knew what I was thinking and what I was scared of and made a joke about me not being able to leave until I'd had the exam as she had locked the door. It forced me to laugh, but it didn't take my anxiety away. She then said maybe we should get you changed into a gown after your exam and take your clothes away so you can't leave until you've had your ultrasound and spoken to the doctor. Again I laughed even though I was petrified.  I waited 15 minutes for my ultrasound- I watched the clock the whole time. During that time someone else's husband looked at me and smiled- this is a flashback memory that I remembered while writing this. I was then led into the tiniest dressing room on the planet, which resembled a broom cupboard in size, to dress into a gown. I was told to make sure the opening was at the front of the gown. I can remember thinking do I just hold it closed, what if it falls open and then I saw the ties; I had two blue and four white. I felt like I was on the Krypton Factor trying to tie the stupid thing together.  I then dumped my clothes in a basket and went to a new waiting room. I still don't know how I got out of that broom cupboard with a basket in my hand, but I did. I then took my clothes out of the basket because I felt embarrassed that I had scrunched them up, and I sat and folded them properly. A nurse came to check on me; I must have looked mad folding my clothes perfectly.  My ultrasound took an agonising 15 minutes from start to finish during that time the nurse commented on how beautiful my sandals were, and then was someone with me today- which sent me into a panic with the thought 'Why is it  going to be bad news?'  Then 10 minutes in the doctor broke his silence (he had not spoken to me since entering the ultrasound room and had only made scrunched up faces). 'How did you come about needing a mammogram?'  I answered by telling him about my mum. Doctor: 'How long ago was your mum diagnosed?' Me: 'February.' Doctor: Understandably your emotions are still very raw with regards to your mother.' and then he said  'Hmm! It appears to be fine.'  I broke down for the hundredth time that day and wasn't sure if I had heard him properly, the nurse took my hand and said 'you've to have a large cup of tea once this is finished.'  The doctor spent another 5 minutes rechecking my arm pit, my breast bone and breast over and over again with the wand, pressing harder and harder and then said it 'appears to be a cyst. I do need another colleague to check everything, but you are free to go.  If you are recalled, please don't fret my colleague will just want to double check to be sure for himself.'  'Do you have any questions?'  I had a million that I wanted to ask but as someone who has suffered from trauma will tell you your mouth and voice don't work when your majorly stressed so I had to nod my head no. He said 'You just want to go, don't you?'  I numbly nodded yes. I was led back to the broom cupboard again but this time, I was covered in a gel that just wouldn't wipe off.  I would clear one area only for it to appear somewhere else. Lol!

So now I'm at home, my breast is incredibly tender, and I'm badly bruised. But, I'm fine and looking at ways to improve my health and eating habits.  I've lost so much weight from worrying that I aim to keep it off.  I'm safe; I'm looking at ways of trying to reduce my stress levels, but I'm jumping at the sound of the letterbox in fear I have been recalled.  I don't like living with stress it's a part of me that hasn't entirely left since having EMDR treatment. It's embarrassing, and I feel ashamed of it, I would give anything to be free of it, perhaps it's just who I am, and maybe I need to learn to love all that I am -flaws and all.


Crafting photos: Strappy top in coral broderie anglaise made using pattern Simplicity 4127.  White flower top made using Simplicity 8523     Grey floral top with orange polka dot neckline made using New Look pattern 6705. Knitting: Veyla mittens by Ysolda. New sewing gadget is the Prym magnetic pin cushion as seen being used by Charlotte Newland on The Great British Sewing Bee.