Saturday, 29 March 2014

My Beautiful Sister...

“Sister. She is your mirror, shining back at you with a world of possibilities. She is your witness, who sees you at your worst and best, and loves you anyway. She is your partner in crime, your midnight companion, someone who knows when you are smiling, even in the dark. She is your teacher, your defense attorney, your personal press agent, even your shrink. ” 
― Barbara Alpert

3 Years ago today I lost my big sister. 
Those of you who followed my last blog probably remember this.
I cannot think positively sometimes but most of the time I try. 
Sarah was 10 years older than me. She was my second Mum. When my little brother who is only 13 months younger than me, was born with a bi-lateral cleft lip and palette, it was up to my sister to take care of me whilst Adam got all the care he required and all the operations.

I annoyed her when I was growing. I destroyed her make-up(remember there was a lot of make up used in the 80s!) I sprayed all her hairspray whilst she was out(this led to me getting great at running when she realised this half an hour before heading out)
I followed her EVERYWHERE, I was her shadow.
When I role played growing up my name was always Sarah.
I looked up to her always...literally, she was 5ft 9, I am 5 inches shorter!
She was always there. From birth to her death. She was there.

I haven't got the best family as I have mentioned before. My sister and my brother are my world.
I have another older sister, I have 2 little ones. I have 2 little brothers but they are not what Sarah and Adam are.

When your whole life has been about a few people those people are everything. You don't ever have to be alone. You don't face things alone, you always have someone to share crappy jokes with.

Sarah was a character. We would go away for weekends and she would pretend I was her PA and she was a features writer for InStyle magazine. Somehow it always worked.
We got into the best clubs, mingled with celebs and got great discounts.
(We also got into a lot of pickles on these jaunts)

I miss her. I miss her so much. That is obvious.
I don't so much miss what we had, I miss what we could have had.
I miss all the birthdays we wont share, all the trouble we wont get into.
I miss finding out if her hair all would fall out because she changed it so often.
I miss her cheek and her mischievousness.
I miss having a big Sister x

My beautiful Sarah xxx

“If you have a sister and she dies, do you stop saying you have one? Or are you always a sister, even when the other half of the equation is gone?” 
― Jodi PicoultMy Sister's Keeper


Thursday, 27 March 2014

A is for Attempt...

A is for Attempt
B is for Brave
C is for Colour.

This is my motto this week. I am scared by bold colours. I go from blog to blog and see so many gorgeous makes with so many bright and bold colours and when I go to my mountainous yarn storage I can never quite find the right green, the perfect shade of pink etc...
I have decided though that I can have no more excuses and I have to just bite the bullet and what will be will be. I need to get on the colour train!

So, I apprehensively and thoughtfully picked out the colours I am going to use for a new project. My Summer Patchwork Throw.
I deliberated for aaaaaages, I kept putting colours back, picking them up, putting them back until my basket was full. I am still not happy with them, especially the yellow, but we will see what it looks like when complete.

I think adding the red was fine but maybe not next to the yellow. I am not going to undo it now as I need to be braver. I need to stop being afraid of colour and recognise that the only way to master it is to practise and be bolder.

This is where I am up to. I have gone for large granny squares on a 4mm hook. I LOVE granny squares and as this throw is for me I wanted it to work up quickly, be very easy as I want it large enough to fill my bed. Fingers crossed it will have a nice patchwork feel to it.
I was so pleased that in less than 4hrs I managed to get the first row of squares finished(only another 9 to go!)
I think that was only because the children were taken swimming and were all gone until early evening.

Later on last night(around 10pm) I decided that I wanted to start something else...this is a curse for many crafters out there I know. Something I hadn't done before...A shawl. After seeing so many beautiful ones around blogland and on Pinterest I really felt inspired and my fingers were itching.
A the beginning of last year I did my usually trick of seeing pretty yarn and impulse buying, this is a really bad habit of mine. I saw this yarn on a totally unrelated shopping trip to John Lewis. I got distracted from Grandparent present buying and ended up, as I so often do, in the haberdashery section. I loved the soft feel of the balls and the stunning warm but lifting colours.
It is Rowan Kid Classic, a mixture of lambs wool and kid mohair, so you can imagine how lovely and soft and natural it feels.
Problem with it was, when I got home and looked at it some more and felt it and cuddled it, I had absolutely no idea what to make with it. It isn't the right weight for a blanket or cushion and I was in no way attempting clothing, so it got put away, out of site and I gave myself a smack on the hand for once again jumping head first into an unnecessary purchase.
Last night however, it became the PERFECT yarn for my shawl.

It says to use 5.5mm has a weight more of a 4ply than a dk so I can only assume the large hook recommendation is to get a really lacy look.
I didn't want a lacy look. I want a light but warm shawl so I opted for 3.5mm and so far it is really working out well.

I have gone for a very basic granny stripe pattern. It is easy and as most of you know with my constant health moans easy is about all I can manage...
There is a superb tutorial at this lovely blog

You can see all those natural fibres bursting out. It is so perfect for warmth on Summer nights. 
I have again been quite brave I think with the layout of the colours. I was tempted to mix the light and dark colours but I actually really like the contrast. 
I could be making a huge mistake and kick myself later, but for now I am happily hooking with this sumptuous yarn.
I am hoping to have this finished for a dear friend. Fingers crossed.

What WIPs have you got on the go?

Happy Thursday xx

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Making the Best of it...

Hi there. So what about this sunshine? I don't know about you but when that sun is shining I am filled with ideas and excitement before I even open my eyes, which is why it really, REALLY sucks to have the crappiest immune system ever!
Guess What???
I am ill again!!!
This is getting sooooo boring. My house has so many messy spots which I am noticing more and more every day. I have redecorated at least 10 times in my head since being laid up.
I have spent thousands!
I have won the lottery, all different amounts and planned how to spend it and deliberated on how deserving family and friends are and how much they will get.
I have been on about 20 different holidays, some with kids and some without...
I have bought so many pretty things that in reality I can't afford. I have made Pinterest boards which display these desires...even made a holiday one(a girl can dream).
I have made soooo many cakes(and eaten them) and my decorating skills would put Cake Boss to shame hehe!

Obviously in reality I have been lay in my bed or on the sofa, feeling sorry for myself, crocheting and moaning. I have been drinking tea and eating out of boredom!
I have been enjoying marathon programme catch up. Mainly Call the Midwife and Sewing Bee, that has been one good thing. I am longing to learn to use my machine and Sewing Bee doesn't help this longing!
I think it is safe to say I am a little worn out with my own company. 
I have been popping in and out of blogland and seeing all your lovely posts but I am so worn out that I get through some and then doze off again.
I have made a concious decision this morning after waking up without the ability to swallow and discovery of white spots on the tonsils, to spend the morning typing(albeit moany typing) on my little blog and upload some of the photos I have been snapping away at.
My little bug. We went to the cinema over the weekend(I started feeling really poorly half way through Muppets Most Wanted) he had to take Fluffy and Mickey with him and they thoroughly enjoyed it.                                             

Something that has been a source of mindless gets boring very quickly!

Some flowers to cheer a girl up :)

The garden is getting a mini makeover. Just something to make this very small and ugly yard a little less of an eye sore!

More bright, beautiful flowers.(both bunches were reduced and count as medicine for sure)

New wool storage...

Cute retro Pop bottles...little in love...

So there are some of the nice things about the last few days.
I haven't been too bad with my frugal March.
I have looked for bargains everywhere. I spent a lot of money on my food shop, but I managed to buy enough for over 2 months for £400. I know that sounds like a lot but for a family for 2 months and it includes meat and all cleaning/household products, I am quite chuffed!

These pop bottles are a sparkling £2 each from Tesco, which is a bargain I think. They have a lovely range at the moment with all this gorgeous coloured glass and some stunning pastel cookware(which definitely did not become part of my March)
Wilkinsons also have some gorgeous coloured glass products including Kilner jars. Again I haven't indulged as they really couldn't be justified.
I know you may think that these bottles can't be but they can I just can't go into details...yet!
(My crochet ta-dahs can't be shared right now either :( )

But a sneaky peek wont hurt ;)

ooooo and another little tip. Right now we are in garden stuff season. Now, if like me you are not the greatest gardener but still find yourself browsing these aisles then despair not.
Garden paraphernalia is usually a lot cheaper than pretty indoor decor.
The bucket I am now using for yarn storage is a gorgeous pastel green and has the wooden embellishment on the handle. It was £4 in the garden section at Tesco!!! £4! If this was an indoor decorative item you would be looking at upwards of £10.
I also use a lot of string in my crafts and for wrapping and twine is perfect...gorgeous twine holders are EVERYWHERE at the moment and they are really reasonably priced.
Keep an eye out people x

Happy Tuesday xxx 

Friday, 21 March 2014


Yes I have definitely been Missing in Action lately. I am determined to find some time soon to sit down and read through everyones lovely blogs. Life just gets in the way sometimes.
I have been active on FB though.
Barefaced selfies and Odd Socks...
 So happy that so much money has been raised for cancer research by this social media fad.

Showing support to raise awareness for WDSA.

I hope you all had a great week, see you very soon...

Happy Friday x

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Weekend Wonderful...

This weekend has been a lot busier than anticipated.
The plan was to relax. Make a cake. Relax some more.
It didn't quite go that way...

There were unexpected indoor picnics(honestly this kid just gets on with it, I come downstairs and find him setting out the blanket and cracking on with sarnies. This isn't posed lmao!)

 A little trip into town for some window shopping...

 OOPS! That is not windows!
The man thinks that he needs to do the garden before he goes to the Navy! 2 weeks hmmmm!!!

But I suppose with this awesome little helper...

 It might be possible...

 He even paints...

We are getting there slowly but surely.

Oooo I mentioned cake didn't I?
I had a Birthday commission to complete. A nice simple white base

Lots of hand made roses with a little sparkle.

 Put them together(with some dubious piping) and TA DAH!

Thankfully the cake is for a friend and she is very forgiving hehe!

I hope you have all had a fabulous weekend x

Happy Sunday x

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Smile Worthy Delivery...

I have had a huge smile put on my face today. 
It started with a suggested page on facebook a while back. I get lots of these on my newsfeed, some good, some ridiculous(how to lose weight by eating frogspawn...well that kind of thing!) but this suggestion was right up my street. It led to a page filled to bursting with colour and creative wonderment.
I was hooked. Like was clicked and with each new post came an ooooo and an ahhhhh.
Falling in love with each new design, each new product. 
The page was Caroline Rose Art
Her Etsy shop is filled with gorgeousness.
Caroline creates collages using mixed media and illustration, the effects from the paper cutting add so much depth and fun. It reminds me of being young and learning all about textures and making art fun and unique. Of course I really only managed cotton wool sheep and triangle and square houses hehe! 
I have been longing for some of her colourful art for such a long time, but with moving and decorating I just didn't have the right space for it.
Then I saw the piece that was just right for me and my little bug.
With the man heading back to the Royal Navy soon we are decorating the bugs room with boats and sailing thingimabobs. This piece would be absolutely perfect I thought, and I am right(of course).

I saw it, I loved it so I ordered it and now I have it...
So exciting when, even before you open it you get a glimpse of the brillliant colours and designs. Silly postpeople putting a sticker over a mini piece of art.

Here it is! Isn't it simply gorgeous?

Look how bright the colours are. You can see all the tiny paper cuts, so small and so detailed. This is just a print and yet you can still see the shadows of the 3D effect this kind of art produces. Caroline has made me fall in love with art all over again. The bright, playful images just speak to me. 
This is so perfect for a little bugs room. 
He will pretend he is in that boat, knowing my little bug that fish will be on a lead not a hook and will be his friend(that is what he is like).
He will tell me that he is just like Daddy sailing his boat, being brave in the stormy seas.

This has come on the right day. After my moan and grump yesterday I am still feeling deflated. I have taken a day out and am resting and gathering my thoughts, letting the negative go and letting the positive back in.
To have this splash of colour land, plop! on the mat is a burst of positive cheer.

I urge you to take a look at this talented ladys work if you haven't already. Even just browsing will put a smile on your face I guarantee it :)  

Thank you all for your wonderful comments yesterday. They meant so much and really made me feel so much better and secure that I can be open about the bad as well as the good xxx

Happy Wednesday xx

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Taking 5...

It has only been a few days but it feels like such a long time since I last went through all your lovely blogs. I keep popping on with all good intentions but I am getting so tired so quickly at the moment that I just can't read that much, but I will.
I have just got back from the reumatologist. I can't decide if it was a productive meeting or not. Was confirmed that it is Ehlers-Danlos, it isn't going to go away(have known this since I was 16!) I can't be put on any more medication as I am already on it all, I am being referred to pain therapy again but told not to get my hopes up. OT again, physio again, I have to see some other consultants in different departments to deal with the other symptoms with the condition and told that I should look into having a second opinion from a specialist...IN LONDON! It took it out of me going a few miles up the road lol.
Just feel that when you have something long term or for life that you kinda get dismissed. There is a sort of attitude that, 'Well you know you have it so what more do you want?' My weight has come on due to my conditions, I have lost the ability to take part in all the activities that I use to love, I can hardly walk without ten ton of painkillers or a week in bed afterwards, they tell me that I have to be really careful with the activity I do due to being so sensitive to pain as my body has gone through so many traumatic, painful events that it has made me extremely sensitive to pain(I don't really understand this, I am assuming it means all the dislocations, slipped discs, scoliosis etc) I think I am great with pain, but she said something like 'you can deal with the big pains but it makes everything else painful like little pokes and prods' which is true, it does hurt when the children hug too hard or someone grabs me even lightly. 
I then get told to lose weight!!! Then I get told that losing weight is extremely difficult in my condition...I am just a bit worn out right now. I try my hardest to lose weight and it is a slooooow process. I use to have a lovely figure and when they look at me like I must love being overweight I want to cry and throw photographs in their face. I want to show them videos of me dancing and pictures of me playing with my children. 
I don't want stupid advice on top of statements that include, 'you just have to play the hand you have been dealt', 'you are not getting better but hopefully you can find things that help', 'ooooo you have the bipolar on top of this so that is going to make things harder for you!'
Talk about confusing and deflating. I know there is no cure but is it too much to ask to have some black and white responses and to have some positive and clear information that isn't followed by something depressing? 

I am sorry that I am probably depressing you all with this but I needed to let out a little steam. I am blessed in so many ways and I am so grateful for the life I have, the roof over my head, the children I have been blessed with, the love that surrounds me. That all keeps my spirits up, but sometimes when I wait ages for some answers and get nothing new and nothing concrete it gets to me and I moan.
I will be feeling better soon and much more positive(I might buy lots of flowers soon, they are awesome for lifting the spirit) and I will be popping by everyone's blogs to say hello and see all your gorgeous colour and creations, but for now I am going to curl up in bed with a Special K cereal bar and relax with a little hooking :)

Happy Tuesday x

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Lazy Sunday...

I do try and make our Sundays very lazy but around midday I decide that everywhere needs a good clean. Today really does have to be a cleaning day. All that furniture painting led to sealant replacement, grout cleaning, cupboard 'organising' etc.
So whilst most of today will be cooking and cleaning, I have decided to steal an hour of this gorgeous sunny morning, and whilst the children are all busy with football, reading and talking to toys, I am going to lay back and crochet.
Absolutely blissful.
I hope you are all enjoying your day and have a fabulous weekend.
(P.S I am glad you all liked the flower tutorial x)

Happy Sunday xx

Friday, 7 March 2014

Fabulous Flat Crochet Flowers...Tutorial...

Hello lovely people. 
Firstly let me say thank you for all your lovely comments regarding our recent furniture endeavours. As I sit here typing I am enjoying the pretty and colourful crafty things that are in the corner of my eye. Goading me to make more and share more, so with that in mind I am going to share another of my little patterns.
You may remember my train journey a while back where I happily watched the countryside whiz past whilst hooking some cute little coasters?
Well I promised on that post that I would share my flat flower pattern.
Flat is important to me...remember the hexagons? Flat crochet items make great embellishments, home decorations, blankets, scarves etc. I love crochet flowers, all of them, but I find sometimes that they are just too fiddly or time consuming, especially when my brain is tired or not functioning to the best of its ability and I need something simple, soothing and pretty. Pretty crochet leads to satisfying crochet.

Before Christmas I was asked to make a flowery scarf from a customer on my FB page. There were no specific instructions so I had free reign over design. I took inspiration from pinterest, but do you think I could find a pattern that satisfied my simplicity? Nope. So in situations like these there is only one solution. Make your own.
As I have said before, we all sit there and work hard creating something we think is unique only later to find that someone else has already done it, so if a wonderful person already has a similar pattern then I promise this is not from anyone elses.

The scarf and wrist warmers made to order.

Can you see how lovely the flowers sit together and piled on top of one another? This is one of my most favouritist patterns and I am so happy to be sharing it with you.

First off. I work in US terms

ST= Stitch

I am using Drops Merino for the turotial and a size 4.5mm hook.

You see, it is flat.

To begin magic ring or if you just can't(like me) then ch2.

This shows your first ch.

DC 14 into the first ch. Join to beginning ST as shown.

CH 3+1 (this counts as your first DC, CH1), DC into same ST, CH1

You will have your first V stitch.

*Skip next ST. DC, CH, DC into next stitch* (shown above)
Repeat from * a further 5 times. 7 V stitches.

Join to beginning CH. You have to count up 3CH to find where you are joining your work. I have shown in the photos below how to do this. You have a plait type pattern when you chain and all you have to do is count up.

1 CH


3CH. Once you have joined, CH1 and turn your work.

This is the space in-between the V stitches.
1SC in this space.

In the V stitch *2DC, CH1, 2DC. SC into CH space* 
You should now have a little petal mountain like above. Repeat from *to* 6 times, but do not SC after the 7th petal.(7 petal mountains)

Instead of SC at the end SS into the first SC stitch. 

This is where we are up to. Isn't it wonderfully flat and perfect for sewing onto that cushion, bag etc? You can leave it here for a smaller flower and/or small coaster(if using as coaster or bunting I advised a little starchy after care. I use spray starch. Pin to a rolled up towel so all is flat and happy and spray starch all over the flower. Leave overnight to dry)


CH1 and turn your work.
SC in the space between the SC(SS for the first one) and the DC.
The needle is where you need to SC, the red hook is the CH space of the petal from previous round. I will quickly run through the pattern again in a second.

In the CH space of the petal mountain DC 5 times.

You then SC in the space between DC of previous round and the SC. The needles are placed where you need to SC.

It is a little blurry but I want you to see where the SC are.
The pattern for this again is
*SC, 5DC into CHsp at top of petal, SC*
Repeat to end

SS into top of first SC.

Cut ends and pull through. Then you just have to sew in your ends.

A Fabulous, Flat, Crochet Flower!

Now again, I am not little Miss Expert when it comes to patterns or tutorials so please, if you do try this and you have any problems then let me know so I can fix them x

This is what I did with that little flat flower. I needed a good mug of coffee before I sat down to write this. 
Can you see that little crochet hook holder sneaking its way into the photograph? This was a gift made for me by the lovely Jacquie at Bunny Mummy.(Told you I still have it Jacquie) Jacquie and I became blogging friends many moons ago when I had my original blog
I would like to say a huge CONGRATULATIONS to Jacquie as well for your fab piece in Simply Crochet magazine xxx

Happy Friday x