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.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Brace yourselves.....end of term is here. Yahoo!

End of term this week, we started our holiday here on Wednesday. The run up to the end of term was pretty hectic, I stupidly volunteered to paint the little one's graduation banner (the sunshine and rainbow acrylic paint on fabric) and spent last Saturday night and Sunday morning completing it (I'm so rock and roll). Monday and Tuesday was emotional, lots of cuddles and goodbyes for the boys and girls moving on to school, they spoiled me rotten and showered me with gifts. Now it's Friday, and I'm still trying to unwind; getting up at stupid o'clock and going to bed as though it's a school night.  Hopefully, I will finally start to relax. I just need to get a scary health appointment out of the way on the 6th, not looking forward to it and feeling pretty anxious, hence all the sewing, crafting and gardening that's going on. The nearly finished skirt is a Project Runway pattern. In the style of The Great British Sewing Bee, I've decided to be thrifty (don't laugh) and construct this skirt from a brand new duvet cover that I received free from a catalogue. I've gone for the fuller skirt rather than the tulip one, and I've extended the length of the skirt, so it's sits below my knee. I've also lined it as the outer material is quite see through. It's taken me quite a few days to get to this point in the picture, but I'm rather pleased with my make and looking forward to inserting the zip and adding the waistband over the next day or so.
In the garden, everything is in bloom; my Nasturtium's have bloomed, and there is lots of bee activity around my wild flowers.  The large Fuschia bush outside my living-room window at one point had twenty bees buzzing around it, this fills my heart with joy, as I know I'm doing something right if bees want to visit my little corner of the world.


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Getting smart with my hobbies

I have been super busy the past couple of weeks, the garden is fairly in full bloom and is keeping me on my toes. What with watering every day with the super hot weather and feeding once a week to keep the plants in tip top condition, I'm quite run off my feet but in a happy way.  I'm so pleased with the way the garden is looking, because in spring I was fretting that I had left all my potting of seeds and gardening prep too late. I shouldn't have worried, everything seems to be sprouting at once and every day I'm met with new miracles; first time growing strawberries, on Monday they were green and when I checked them again on Wednesday three had started to turn red.  Well, you can imagine my excitement Paul couldn't stop laughing as I jumped up and down in the garden.  My sunflowers are another miracle, previous years they have been munched and rotted away, not this year I've only put in their second much longer supports and since doing so, they have sprouted a good 4" in a couple of days.  My lettuce plants also just keep growing and growing and every time I pick the leaves they seem to double in size; at this rate I will have to think about setting up a wee homegrown produce stall to sell my veg lol!

The Great British Sewing Bee has also returned for a fourth season (Yahoo!)and is about to go on to episode 6. I love, love, love this programme so much,  I'm quite sad because I record the programme while I watch it so I can then view it again at a later date.  I also bought the book just after episode 3; I hid it from Paul as I couldn't wait until Christmas Time I had to have it now. Paul, had me sussed though with a comment along the lines of 'I hope you're waiting until the Sewing Bee book is reduced before buying it?'  I purchased the book reduced on Amazon rrp £25.00 I bought it for £9.99 bit of a bargain me thinks.  I've had a quick scoot through the book, and I've  highlighted a few items that I want to make but if I ever get round to them is a different matter. I seem to have a head full of great ideas and designs but then chicken out at the last minute as I'm too scared to go ahead with them for fear of making a mistake or a mess.  Even as I type this, my mind is going into overdrive, and I'm thinking 'I don't really do as much sewing as I should, and I have some material that I could turn into a skirt or a blouse. Hmm! Maybe I should look the fabric out and get started.'  (Pause in typing as I run upstairs to locate stuff). I've just laid the material on the bed as a reminder for later and started two headscarves for my mum (pictured).  I've also purchased some new feet for my machine (not the Merritt in the photo this is Paul's gran's machine, just out of storage), and I have big designs about extending the space in my front room to accommodate a table for cutting and a serger purchase.  Shhhh!  Don't say anything to Paul.