Saturday, 31 October 2009

Customising finished at last

Last night I went to the first Friday Night Knitting Club at our new wool store, there was a lovely atmosphere with knitters of all ages, tea and cake. Dulcie showed us some wonderful wool, even self patterning of all things! She is also selling gorgeous Al paca wool from a man trying to support an Inca village, by selling direct. They are fantastic women who have made the shop such a lovely place to go I am sure I will be doing much more crochet.

I am on my second scarf at the moment, they make such great pressies and so relaxing to do.

I bought this cardigan a few years ago, it had a thick rib bottom and cuffs. It was one of those items of clothing that I would put on, look in the mirror and then take off again. So I removed the ribbing and created a lace crochet trim on the bottom edge and the cuffs. I finished it at the group last night. Now it seems to fit much nicer round my waist I am happy to wear it.

Back edge details - I added the ribbon trim too. Dolly is such a great model!

I think the most wonderful thing about crochet is you can add to almost any garment. Great for customising, as well as lace edgings and corsages. Knitting by comparison is just boring, or maybe that is because I spend most of my time picking up dropped stitches!

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Happy Halloween

Isn't Halloween fun? When I was a child we were exposed to the American festival but I just wasn't encouraged. I am so pleased that children get a chance to participate now, dressing up and getting sweets.

One year I thought I would go the whole hog, dressed up to the nines and played my creepy music every time someone knocked at the door, but one little boy nearly ran away in terror! (I can't remember if I had my make up on or not!)

I think the good thing about Halloween is that it is an opportunity to meet your neighbours and have some positive interaction with children in the community. Which sounds just fine by me.

Mind you if you saw these two at the door would you want to knock? At least the frog is friendly. Dearest L decorated the house for us just before she headed off to a party dressed as a fairy!

I am putting my feet up with a little crochet!

Happy Halloween
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Friday, 30 October 2009

Bath bombs and British Flag Cushion

It has been quiet here lately, but I have been busy, honest! You can see my handiwork above, I am still in my fiddling with tweed phase! I just love working with it as it is just soft and kind, so far this has proved a very cheap option as these cushions usually retail around £25 to £35 each, but the material only cost me a tenner, the cushion inserts have come from a charity shop, most of the zips and ribbon was already in my stash so all in all I made three cushions for around £25 at the most! Oh and a really good tip to get your cushion nice and prim at the corners, tuck in wadding as cushions tend to miss the edges.

I bet when you were a child you did not realise that making sandcastles is actually a useful activity! There is a simply joy to creating the right mix of sand and water to create a really wonderful sandcastle with all the detail! Well this is a really useful skill for making bath bombs as the consistency required is just the same! The great thing is after leaving these to dry for a day you will be able to handle them easily and the sand won't wash all your hard work away! These lovelies can sit in your new spa bathroom and give you another lap of luxury! (By the way the bath bombs are in the basket on the left). If you have never used a bath bomb then you are in for a real treat as these fizz beautifully giving off their lovely scent as they go. If you want to increase the experience even more put it under your back and let the bubbles tickle you! The other wonderful thing is that you can decide what essential oils you can use to suit your needs.

Recipe for Bath Bombs

Buy at least four pots of bicarbonate of soda
(I usually get eight because I just love making them)


at least 350 g

Citric Acid
350 g
You can get this at health food stores or anywhere they sell beer making stuff.
Despite the name it isn't nasty stuff, it is actually used in bread making too! Honest!

A small jelly mould

Food colouring
if you wish

Essential oils of your choice

Sleep enhancers are: Lavender, Chamomile, Clary Sage
(Clary sage will give you nightmares if you have been drinking alcohol)

Revitalizing oils: Rosemary, peppermint Orange or Mandarin

Uplifting oils: bergamot and Neroli
(don't use late in the day!)

Sensual Oils: Rose, Sandalwood, Jasmine and Ylang Ylang

Empty the four pots of bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl, then using the pots as a measure add two pots of cornflour and two pots of citric acid. Carefully mix the dry ingredients together lightly in your hands, add the essential oils and mix again.

Take a pot of water and fill up to around 1/3 to 1/2 of water and add food colouring.
Add water very slowly and very carefully, not all the water at once add gently, mix quickly until you have the sandcastle consistency.
The mixture will foam but don't panic and keep mixing it in quickly!

Lay a large tray with kitchen roll to place your little sand castles.

Once you have the right mixture use small jelly moulds or what ever you wish to mould the sandcastles carefully releasing them from their mould.

Allow to dry overnight and fully harden.

Tightly wrap in clingfilm, to stop them from being inadvertently set off by a stray splash of water.

If you are giving them away as gifts then you can make some lovely labels.

My only advice is just add a few drops because when the bomb dissolves in the bathwater the fragrance will be quite strong for a while. The combination of warm water and steam increases the effectiveness. However, be careful if you are pregnant as some herbal infusions are not advisable, I am not an aromatherapist!


I have also been in negotiations with my local WI and currently in the process of organising an alternative schedule of meetings for women of our age! I have made a list already, including revamping, restyling clothing, making chocolates, belly dancing etc!

So as you are all so fantastic with your ideas can you let me know what you think? What would you like to do at a WI meeting? Life drawing with a lovely fit male model? Pole dancing? Making your own cosmetics?

I would really value your ideas!

Thank you for reading this long post!

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Monday, 26 October 2009

Bathroom bliss for the goddess!

You might think that cleaning the bathroom would be the opposite for creativity but my Halloween capers gave me an idea!Change your bathroom into a sanctuary for very little cost!

Charity shops are simply brimming with press molded glassware, decanters and bottles. I am a romantic at heart and the idea of pouring bubble bath from a heavy crystal decanter seems deliciously decadent!

So I filled all these delightful bottles with all my gels and potions and I must say it is simply wonderful to pour shampoo out of these vintage bottles rather than the boring plastic ones! (Little tip, if your conditioner is a little bit thick just add a little water to help it run out of the bottle smoothly, after all you are going to add water to it anyway!)

Mr C, ever practical, would tell me it might be difficult to tell shower gel from shampoo when there are no labels, so I used a little of my glass painting out liner to label the bottles and I could not resist adding a little bling!

Bottles of shampoo that advertise the fact you consider you hair to be brittle or especially for coloured hair might not be a great impression to give your friends! I love the words Elixir and Tonic, much nicer than shampoo or conditioner, (easier to fit on the bottle!) and some how more vintage

Even soap can look gorgeous when it sits in a sumptuous glass bowl, I just love the rose candles they sit really nicely among the soap. I love to use candles in the bathroom especially as a wind down after a long day. However, beware that some soaps and gels are very flammable so don't have your candles too near the bath!

Just one last thing, those monthly essentials don't look pretty, so I created this little bag to keep them snug! I just love applique, I made it a little while ago so it isn't as pristine as it could be!

So after all this hard scrubbing to make all things bright and sparkly, I am off to relax in my little home made sanctuary

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Twiddling with Tweed!

Fantastic news, a lovely wool boutique opened up this month, and they are starting a Friday night Knitting Club, so I am off this Friday! Yippee.

I went to Fabricland last week, (twice as I never pass up the offer of an outing!) they have some delightful tweed. As I had been leafing through Cath Kidston's Make, I found some fabric for the cottage cushion! I really enjoyed doing the embroidery on the cushion, I played around with the composition! I made the hearts one as well this afternoon. Unusually going for a more subtle effect maybe the muted shades were having an effect on me.

We are going scarf crazy at the moment, having found some lovely vibrant wool, I am getting sorted for Christmas! However, L is delighted with her first crochet scarf and is even more happy now I have found my pom pom maker, she is winding as I write!

I also made this corsage for this bag I bought in a charity shop. It was just plain pink, so I crocheted the edge, (this is why crochet is much better than knitting!) I think it might make a good Christmas present! (oh no I have mentioned the C word sorry!)

C has completed his bag challenge by filling up three bags! (This is a great thing you should try as he did lots of housework before hand trying to put it off!) We took them to the charity shop but unfortunately I bought some more stuff! Don't be too hard on me, three cushions which I used to fill my new ones and a basket to organise our mail! (And you thought I had slipped off the wagon!) I bought some lovely leather boxes to go under the coffee table, we have a box each and one for the wii stuff!

Only the TV cabinet to paint and then the list is done! If only I could find where I put the book to find the next challenge!

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Women's Institute - Halloween 2

This is enough to scare away any children wanting sweets, I grew the double chin to look authentic!

I love dressing up for Halloween I missed out when I was a child as it hadn't crossed the pond then, so I am more than happy to make up for lost time! I turned up dressed as a witch for the WI meeting, (you can't see the black and white striped stockings!) it was J's idea and she looked fabulous!

I am so proud to announce we won the cup! They loved the crazy witch's desk!

Now I will add a little about the Women's Institute here: I am a little worried that unless it starts to attract younger members we will lose a great institution! I know it has a certain image that does not seem to relate to women our age and younger, but I really feel we are missing out! The competitions are great fun, there are also opportunities to make a contribution to our communities as well as make great friends!

Where else are we going to learn skills to really be independent? Our schools no longer teach children life skills such as cooking, it is all about manufacturing as home skills were considered non aspirational! This will be a whole generation dependent on pre package foods and take aways!

Colleges and evening classes no longer get paid to run 'vocational' classes, so they aren't able to run dressmaking, cooking or creative crafts. There are so many women now who can't sew a button or take up a pair of trousers, yet with the way clothing is made it is so hard to get a great fit without knowing how to take it in here or let it out there! Don't even start me on customising things - I just love being different!

Anyway, the solution is the Women's Institute, it is stock full of women with skills who are able to pass down the generations. I was taught to crochet from a lovely lady from the WI, she was so patient and kind, and I think of her every time I make something! There is also the wonderful Denman College, which holds such a huge variety of courses from beauty, creative writing, dressmaking to exotic cookery and chocolate making!

So, if you are thinking about it then just do it! Yes it will be full of older women, but they have so much to offer us, if we only had the courage to go for it! After all if we all started joining then it would be full of women just like us too!

There are new WI's starting up, activities include burlesque dancing, life drawing (with a male model!) for info check out this from the Bramley Lite WI - just give me time and we will be soon shakin' our bootie!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Halloween is nearly here!

I have created this display for my WI in a local competition! It has been great fun and difficult to know when to stop! I did not realise we had so much Gothic stuff in the house! I am glad the kids are out of their Gothic phase!
The bottles were in the shed and the contents is made up from various cleaners in the home, they come in such great colours! It is surprising how lovely thick wool can end up looking like intestines when it is immersed in window cleaner!

The labels were made using an ordinary word processing program, this font is called parchment, I also used Gigi.

I aged the labels by painting them with cold tea, then letting it dry in the oven!

The stink bugs eggs are made with some yellow cleaner, a necklace with white beads and some green oil.

I used red paint to fill this bottle, but I think red ink gives a better colour, not quite so muddy. The drips of blood were created using sealing wax and running it down the edge.

Candles don't burn down with bumps so the best way to get a runny effect is to drip the wax from another candle onto the sides. You can adjust the rate it falls by raising or lowering the candle that you are dripping from. It should give a lovely gnarled effect when you have finished.

Use an old fashioned font create a spell, using a velum paper, then cut it to form ragged edges. You then soak the edges with

cold tea and curl the edges round a knitting needle while it is still wet. Put in the oven for a few minutes to crisp up! You will have an aged spell for your ensemble!

I also had some small china cups, (used in Chinese food). If you drink herbal tea especially a red tea, (strawberry, raspberry etc) Empty the contents into a small dish and let it dry, it will look just like dried blood!

So it hasn't all been fun and games, I have still managed my de-cluttering task! I can actually see my dining room table! It is surprising how lovely it looks! The chooks are still enjoying all the shredded junk mail! The cups have started a bit of a frenzy, I have sorted out quite a few more cups and crockery to go in my bag. I also went to Primani today, so I filled the bag with unwanted clothes! However, I won't be de-cluttering the shed, after all those bottles have been hanging about for ages and they came in useful!

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Declutter challenge 3

I will admit this isn't from the book but today's task was decided by these lovely stacking mugs I saw in M and S today! This will keep things nice and neat and tidy!

Our mugs are a wild assortment of shapes and sizes, they seem to take up loads of space and C is always moaning that they are hard to put in the dishwasher! So here is the solution! Aren't they lovely! I will send the old mugs to the charity shop, (still have a bag to fill.

I am not sure this was quite in the de cluttering mode, C said buying stuff to throw out stuff did not seem quite right, but I am trying!

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Horader to order challenge 2

OK so it is confession time, C was not as enthusiastic about this 'Hoarder to order' idea as I was, it might have been that I hit him with it the minute I woke up Saturday morning, when he was still in a state of slumber! (he thought I was shouting at him, but it was just my enthusiasm, honest!)

The carrier bag task caused a little bit of an argument! After changing the nets we both fought over who could put the old ones in their carrier bag! C won but has yet to add anything else!

It was while I was looking for sellotape to wrap a birthday present I thought I would sort through the drawer on my dresser: I found a shortbread mould, (I had been looking for it some months ago! What ever possessed me to put in that drawer?) and a diary for 2005 still pristine! My daughter argued that I could not put it in my carrier bag as even a charity shop would not be able to sell it! I think it counts but maybe I should do two bags - one for the dump or I would have to drop it at the door of the 'lucky' charity shop and run! If you would like the diary,( it might actually be OK next year as it was only a day out for this year) I would be more than happy to send it to you. I also found two other books, (from psychologies about re-organising your life, but even though they had been in the drawer for a couple of years I am sure I am going to have time to read them!)

C did get quite angry when I tried to tell him about the task two , but that was probably because he was trying to load the car with ballast at the time. So, what is task two? Well, it is take a ten minute challenge, re-organise your notice board. As C was still busy with the ballast, I thought I could tackle the task for both of us, (after all he still has the rest of his carrier bag to fill).

If you really what to know about someone, don't bother with their bookshelves, blog or private journal, just take a look at their notice board, it will tell you all you ever want to know about their actual life style and their aspirations! (if you are feeling brave take a look at yours!)

I found this task a little sad, as it seemed to be full of good intentions, such as a gym membership leaflet, a invitation to an art gallery, shamanic healing
( Who on earth found that one?) and a leaflet for a local craft event. This all sounds very cultured, however, there is also two local take away menu's for an Indian and a Kebab house, (well that's dispelled the culture vulture image!) we haven't had a kebab since C read in a woman's magazine at work (there is nothing else to read at lunchtime apparently) there are over 3,000 calories in a single kebab! Now that sounds very impressive, except he only found that out last week!

I am happy to report I now have a little pile of paper, including receipts, dental appointments, a free herb with your spring bulbs offer and a January to April live bands programme! (we did not see a single band!)

Now here is the challenge, the oldest thing on my notice board was a dentist appointment for April 2008! See if you can beat that!

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Jumbled to junk-free in 100 steps

It was at around five this morning, I decided that something needed to be done!

I couldn't sleep ideas were swirling round my head because I had been looking at Flickr, and other crafty websites just before bed!

I felt a bit of a failure, as I seem to lose interest in projects very quickly with very little ability to see a project through to completion. I find myself maybe half way through a project when suddenly I will be filled with an idea or I will spot some fabulous fabric or wool and will be filled with enthusiasm to start that. My shed is crammed full of such projects, my lounge was a mass of wool, books, magazines and other paraphernalia that I was embarrassed when N popped round for a coffee. The dining room looked like a junk shop, piled high with a general array of items, and I can't remember the last time we actually sat round the table to eat! Yet it is so wonderful when we do.

I am like a magpie, I collect lots of pretty things from shops and charity shops, yet they are all jumbled together that I am unable to enjoy my lovely finds. Upstairs is even worse, and I ban any visitors from stepping one foot on the stairs. My clothes are mainly heaped and I really struggle some mornings to find items which I know I have but I can't locate!

C says he comes home and is surrounded by jobs and to do items that it is hard to tell the difference from home and work!

What a very sad state to live in! We have a spacious four bedroom home, that feels cramped and quite frankly a hovel most of the time. Spending so much time at home I am unable to escape and I actually started to see it for reality.

Fortunately, because I am a hoarder, the answer was laying on my bookshelf! It is called hoarder to order by Sue Kay, part of the Get a Life Series from Hodder and Arnold. So here it goes!

challenge 1: fill one carrier bag with stuff and take it to a charity shop!

(luckily I am ahead on this one, as I did sort through my clothes to pack away my summer stuff. I bought some boots and comfy clothes at Matalan, so I filled the bag up with clothes. Sadly, clothes that no longer fit!)

It was great to see a starting point so we sat and compiled an additional list of jobs to do this week. I suggested we work our way round the rooms in the house starting with the lounge, as it was the easiest to sort out!

The first thing on our list is a good coffee table with STORAGE so we can put away some of the stuff we don't want to display, such as wii controllers etc.

We have pictures on the walls that we seem to have grown out of, yet I have paintings galore in my shed. So I have hung my poppy picture on the wall, and intend to create another canvass of the same size for the other wall.

I have made a contract that I will keep only ONE project in the lounge, all other craft stuff must stay in the studio.

I also finished the beaded trim on the new nets for the front window. (I am not a fan of nets, but as we have a busy footpath outside our house, I prefer nets to being looked at like an object in a zoo!) So the windows were cleaned and the new nets put up. Snother tick off the list!

In the end we had around 18 objects on our list, and by the end of the day we had completed 6 of them. The list is on a white board, and we are creating a word document with a list of completed projects next to it. As it grows we will print it out and put it next to the white board so we will know how far we have come!

So, the gauntlet has been thrown down, 100 steps! I am going to post here, so that I feel I have some sort of incentive! So here goes! I have decided that we shall treat ourselves to a massage each if we get to 30!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Another two weeks on the Sofa!

The chooks dug up this bounty! My entire potato harvest from a sprouting potato back in the spring! As a farmer I think I have a long way to go! Had to dig them up as the chooks had eaten the entire plant!

I saw the doctor today, sadly my leg is no better than when I first hurt it, in fact it is actually worse in terms of pain!!!! I am signed off for another two weeks, if there is no improvement then she will refer me to a specialist.

I discussed going swimming to help it she thinks it is a good idea, so now I have posted this I must actually go! (she also advised me not to go to far from the edge in case i get cramp!) so hopefully everything will go well! If you don't hear from me again, then it didn't!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Twilight Series - New Moon Film

Warning, approach with caution!

Do you remember the snow? Well I was fortunate enough to be tucked up at home as the school had been closed. Did I see any of it? Well no actually! You see I was in the grip of a real addiction which started with the first book of the Twilight series!

Now you will have seen Twilight everywhere, in fact True Blood is a follow up for all the stirred up passion created by the books. But I will say the books are seriously addictive, you will actually kill someone who gets in the way of you starting the next book because you will be under some sort of spell. These books are seriously fantastic! I know that sounds ludicrous coming from a forty year old woman, but you will fall in love like it is the first time all over again!

Let me tell you I never read any books on vampires before this, but my partner was complaining that he only saw the top of my head for the whole eight days it took me to read all four books.

When I say it is an addiction, it is an understatement! It left me restless for weeks as I tried to find something to read that could even come close to touching me as these books did.

So why the post now, well I am counting down the days until the next film in the series is out, it is called New Moon and I can't wait!

You can preview it here, but really it is better to read the books first and you just about have time!

If you have read the books then you will know exactly what I am talking about! you might like to take a peek at the chapters from Midnight Sun, (Twilight from Edward's perspective)

the film is out on the 27th November in the UK, so I am counting down the days!

Monday, 12 October 2009

Gastrocnemius tear and tips!

Well, it has nearly been six weeks, and I thought I would share a few things I have learned since tearing my gastrocnemius. The first lesson was knowing I actually had a gastrocnemius, realising it was in my leg rather than a word to describe someone who enjoys their food, or a posh way of saying you have been on the loo more than usual!

If you are reading this because you have torn your gastrocnemius muscle then you are obviously sporty! As this usually occurs during sporting activities! (you can't injure yourself while sitting on the sofa!) Although government guidelines state you should participate in 30 minutes exercise a day, most hospital casualty departments are filled with people with sporting injuries, so you decide!

I could go into some brilliant description about tears, first aid advice etc, however, there is a brilliant website dedicated to the medical stuff, and from my little diagram, you will realise that I am not really an expert scientist! Anyway this blog article is really support to help someone who is looking for advice once they have their diagnosis!

This picture / sketch is supposed to be the inside of your leg, showing the muscles and more importantly the gastrocnemius! If your leg actually looks like this then seek medical advice immediately! As there is something seriously wrong with you!

How I found my Gastrocnemius

I was dancing, well technically I was actually walking, when I felt a sensation similar to an elastic band pinging on the back of my leg, followed by the most awful cramp I have ever experienced! Now my first real piece of advice to you is not to do what I did immediately afterwards. I had just asked someone to dance, a rather fast rock and roll dance and my gastrocnemius chose the moment I was walking onto the dance floor with this young man. (he was rather good looking but that is another matter!) The fact was I did not know him well enough to turn round and walk off, or to explain that I had hurt myself. So, I actually danced, well rather hopped through the dance while leaving my foot firmly on the floor. It must have been the worse dance in the world, but the man (obviously a very polite gentleman) asked me for another . I declined and slowly, trying stupidly not to limp and pretending everything was fine (Embarrassment can be a dangerous thing!), I struggled off the dance floor. Reaching my long suffering partner, I told him I had hurt myself and scuppered his chances of actually enjoying the pint he had to his lips, explaining, in what was to be quite an understatement, that I thought I might not be able to drive home. The understatement became apparent when we got outside and I admitted it was actually agony to walk! I managed to hop, using C's shoulder for balance all the way to the car! I got to bed, by going up the stairs on my bum, hoping that all would be well in the morning after a dose of the strongest painkillers in the house! Sadly, we found ourselves among the footballers and pub brawlers the next morning at the casualty department! That is when I discovered I had a second degree tear on my gastrocnemius! And luckily for me I had not ruptured it, or the Achilles tendon! So we returned, armed with crutches, a sick note and some small round tablets called co-drydamol.

So now you know how I met my gastrocnemius, I would be interested to hear your stories!

Actual Advice

Well, that was six weeks ago, I am still on the sofa, (sorry to disappoint you it can take up to eight weeks!) hereare my tips for anyone surfing looking to benefit from someone else's experience (mistakes), while recovering from a tear in their gastocnemius!


When they tell you to rest your leg, that actually means sitting on the sofa with your feet at roughly the same level as your hips. It does not mean you can climb stairs, do housework or stand up to cook a meal, try and feed chickens or bake cakes, it actually means REST. This may be the only time in your life when you can justifiably leave the housework! Horay!

Rescue and old bag!

It is a good idea to carry a bag around with you, as your crutches tend to take up both your hands! (this does not work with a cup of tea!) It is also advisable, (sadly it took me several days to realise this) to bring all objects down with you when you come down the stairs in the morning! (glasses, books, etc! Are best brought down together rather than one at a time when you remember!) This of course won't be a problem if you live in a flat!

Billy don't be a hero!

Or heroine! Call all your friends, get as much sympathy as you possibly can! After a couple of days you will find you are drifting into a world of Jeremy Kyle and GMTV, the four walls will be closing in on you and your brain will turn to mush! You will need your friends to keep your sanity! It is difficult, I know, to ask for help, but remember how good it feels to actually help someone? Don't deny your friends the chance to feel good!

Take pride in your appearance

You might be a little more sternly built than I am, but after a week or so, you may find you are wearing soft stretchy sportswear, comfy clothes that are the equivalent of pyjamas, or they are actually pyjamas! This is not good for your self esteem, with no work to dress up for, you may find you haven't worn make-up for weeks, (or if you are guy, you might consider growing a beard!) Take a firm hold of yourself, and pick at least one day a week when you are dressed, spruced up and ready to go! Even if it is another day on the sofa with loose women.

Seize the day!

You can take advantage of services for the disabled even though it is only temporary! (sadly not a blue badge!) but enjoy parking in the disabled bays at your local supermarket! Watch as people wait and spy on you to see if you really are disabled! Then get out your crutches and go for it! Some supermarkets actually have electric wheelchairs! Go on, you have been dying to try them. There is a great organisation called SHOP MOBILITY, They usually operate in most towns and they actually let you borrow an electric wheelchair or a mobility scooter! Yipee, this is fun! They will also stamp your parking so you park for free! However, be warned, shops, lifts and people are really hard to negotiate! Fortunately the shop mobility people cover you for insurance!

You will encounter two distinct groups of people as you make your way around the shops, hostile and friendly!

Hostile people will swear at you, walk directly in your path and then shout at you if you narrowly avoid hitting them by performing an emergency stop procedure. People will hit you with their handbags, as your head is now at just the right height. There will be hostile stares as they try to work out why you are in a wheelchair and not dribbling!

Kind people smile at you! They will press the floor numbers on the lift and risk white finger by holding the door open button while it takes you ten minutes to reverse out without hitting the side doors! They help pick things up when you have knocked them off shelves and still smile at you! (perfuse apologies are a really good idea at this point, don't lean out of the chair, as you could actually fall out of it with the chair on top of you!)

Manage your pain

Although they give you really strong painkillers, take as many as you need to help with the pain. Even though you can have six co-drydamol a day, you can actually lose days or even weeks if you do this! (I lost a whole day and I only took half the recommended dose!) I might be going against medical advice, and I am not advising this for anyone here. I am an ants in the pants sort of person, when I took the painkillers, during the five minutes I was not comatose, I did stupid things, like walking in the garden etc! I think pain is actually my body's way of telling me to sit on the sofa and be nice to gastrocnemius. So just because I preferred to be awake, I did not take the painkillers all the time. As I was in some discomfort I did not feel up to chasing the chickens or mopping the floor!

Keep busy! (A blog challenge!)

You will be aware of many things you are no longer able to do, while you are resting and being really kind to your gastrocnemius! I have started a little list of suggestions, but I am opening up to you guys to come up with some ideas of your own!

1. Complete a crossword, Sudoku or even a whole puzzle book

2. Write a blog

3. Write a book

4. Learn to crochet,

5. Meditate

6. Plan a holiday for when you are fit and well again

7. Shop on line and get it delivered to your door

8. Write a letter, (or thank you cards for your friends)

9. Read a book (this site is a great way to buy books cheaply and save the planet!)

10. Come up with your own ideas and post them here!

11. Tell me how you got to know your gastrocnemius and post it here!

12. Take out the whole series of Ugly Betty, Desperate Housewives or lost (it might make sense if you watch it all together!)

Well, that is about all for now, take care of yourself, more importantly, be kind to your gastrocnemius!

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Home Again!

We spent a wonderful weekend in Dorset, I booked this for my mum and I to go away, but sadly as I still can't drive, Clive took me down instead. Mum and I will go in April so we can go back to see the signets at the swannery!

If you are ever down that way, do go to the saturday market at Bridport, there are some fantastic stalls selling vintage stuff! Another great place for lunch is the Arts Centre, their ploughmans lunch is fabulous and a bargain for a fiver! We visited the great reclaimation yard, the guys are very friendly and chatty. There are all types of dressing tables, wash stands and chairs! If you are lloyd loom fan they they have them a plenty! Under a dressing table I spotted a whole basket full of vintage lace and crochet doilies, they are so beautfully delicate, I can never aspire to such heights! I bought four for two pounds! Clive was wonderful, as I am once again in the wheelchair! the leg is really not great, and I am in pain if I try to stand for too long!

Still the sun came out today, so I took up a little stool and managed to harvest some of the lavender, (there are still three bushes to go!). I am going to make some lovely weat bags for Christmas presents.

I have also come up with a very cunning plan! I was putting straw in the nesting box for the chooks, but it was very tricky to keep clean. Spotting some shredded correspondence I realised it would make excellent bedding! Shredding is so satisfying, and it makes cleaning out so cheap, as you can take away the soiled stuff and replace it! It also means that we aren't collapsing under piles of junk mail! They love the cosy nest and lay in it quite happily, it also is quite clean to remove from the eggs.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Another Week!

Saw the Doctor today and I have been signed off for another week! I am struggling a little because it has now been five weeks since I hurt my leg and it still hurts whenever I try to do anything! It is no fun now!

I realise one thing, I really enjoy my job and I could not be at home all the time. Maybe it doesn't help that I cannot get out of the house, but it is having a strange effect on me. I am spending my time in comfy sportswear, no make up, my hair is just left to dry naturally and I just don't want to go out! This is just so unlike me! I am usually out dancing tango, jive, I meet up with friends, as well as dancing at the weekends. I jog three times a week with another friend and I always wear makeup! What is happening to me? (sitting beneath the patchwork quilt, cat on knee, crochet hook in hand and a pile of wool by my feet!) dare I say it I am getting old? LOL (The quilt is necessary because our boiler has gone to boiler heaven! I wonder if fire and brimstone might suit a boiler more?)

Anyhow, a lady complimented me on my new bag, my mad bag, and no she did not need glasses! In case you missed it here it is again!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Rainy days and Wednesdays!

The weather has been very wet today, the chooks looked very sad and bedraggled as they sheltered under the rosemary bush! It is one of those days when it is just wonderful to be cosy and warm, (using the gas fire as the boiler has decided to go to boiler heaven!) sit with a good book and listen to the rain drops on the window!

The book I am reading is called the Thirteenth tale and is rather Gothic! Despite feeling cosy and happy when I started reading the story is very oppressive and after I while I had to give up and make some biscuits! (Don't get me wrong, I love this book but with the weather outside it was getting a little oppressive! Think Jane Eyre or the turn of the screw! and you will understand what I mean!)

After listening to the radio and baking I felt in much lighter mood, and returned to my crochet! With a tea tray, my little tea pot (with cosy) and some lovely home made biscuits! I discovered the plate in a charity shop for a pound! It matches my tea set perfectly! I have always loved little rose buds!

Personally I think we have lost something by using mugs and tea bags. Using a tray, tray cloth, tea pot, cosy, milk jug and tea cups with saucers make it a real luxury! You can always have another cup!

Re-cycled jumper bag

Well here it is, the jumper bag! I have seen this idea floating around, when I spotted this jumper in a charity shop I thought it would make a good bag.

I went really mad with the crochet! I don't apologise, the idea behind this bag was to use it for work! I have to wear a uniform for work so this is my opportunity to make a little stand! Which is why it is so wild!

With work in mind, I created a mobile pocket, front pocket (for a water bottle) an inner pen pocket and a secret zip up for those little essentials!

To make one of your own, here is how it is done!
Cut the jumper just below the arm holes and then over lock the edges to keep them from fraying. Using this as a template cut out the lining material adding a seam allowance.

Using a pen as a guide cut a rectangle the same length of the pen, then add a finger gap between each pen to get the width, (the finger gap helps the seam allowance).

Cut a larger rectangle to form the secret pocket with another piece the same width but only a third deep which will be the top edge of the pocket.

So you should have a back, front, a pen pocket rectangle, and two more rectangles to form the secret pockets.

Over lock all the edges to stop them from fraying.

Taking the pen rectangle, turn over top seam allowance and sew to edge. Turn over the other three sides and press. Pin to one of the linings, and sew round the three edges.

Using the pen as a guide, sew channels through the pocket. I have added some trim to each channel on my pen pocket, as you can see! I also finished it with a blanket stitch from my machine!

To create the other secret pocket sew the two pieces together along the width.

Press the seam open, lay the zip across the seam and sew round using a zipper foot to get close to the edge.

Press the seam again, then using an unpicker, carefully remove stitches from the zip opening.

Press seam allowances on all four edges and sew to lining, you can also use a decorative stitch.

Iron the top edge of the lining pieces, then sew along the top edge. Sew the two lining pieces together along the three edges.

Cut the arms off and remove cuffs. Take one sleeve and cut it length ways to create narrow strips. Over lock all raw edges, sew the sleeves together around the cuff edge to make the handle.
As the knitted sleeves may stretch, cut the ribbing off and thread it through the sleeves to strengthen the handle.

Use the shoulder edge (which is a large area) and zig zag the handle to the wrong side of the lining bag at the side seams. It is essential to create a large surface area so that any weight in the bag is distributed.

Use the ribbing to create the mobile phone pocket. Sew the bottom of the pocket to the jumper outside, and then tuck the side seams and sew. Create a larger pocket from the remaining sleeve, with the cuff uppermost. (don't forget to over lock the edges)

Your jumper should be still intact at the side seams. Using the rib as the top edge, sew the lower edge to form the bottom of the bag. (I included a pom pom trim).

You can then decorate the bag with daisy stitches, and crochet trims, or if you prefer something more subtle then you can leave it plain!

I will blog the crochet flower patterns later.

Place the lining bag inside the jumper bag and hand stitch the edges together.

In order to make the phone pocket a little more secure I crocheted a loop and flower button. It means the phone won't slip out. I also created a ruffled edge to the larger pocket. (will post later)

I hope these instructions are clear, but if you have any difficulty please don't hesitate to contact me! This is my first attempt at putting a project here! I hope you like it!

all the best