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From the studio { February }

February 28, 2015

studio view february

This month involved a few less visits to the studio than I would have liked but sadly ill children and half term conspired against me. However we had some nice sunny days and I even crossed the river and tool a picture looking back at my studio for a change. One visit was in the evening but the picture was just black so of no interest really!

February Makes

Inside the studio (top row) I made a second Tic Tac Toe block – this one for me to keep. We were in need of something bright to add to our hallway so I recreated a smaller Fair Isle Table Runner (tutorial) last week. It was the posting date for #makefriendsswap on Friday and I sent off this cute fabric basket. I now need to make some for me.

(Middle row) My friend Lo (@peachytwins) visits some Tuesday mornings, and one week she bought her scraps! My first ever attempt at paper piecing and if it turns out okay this will be my mini quilt for the Cotton and Steel swap. I tried printing some dots on fabric. I wanted to join in with Le Challenge but wasn’t organised enough. Maybe this month.

(Bottom row) I took a deep breath and finally got on with quilting the ‘Tiles’ quilt I made after Kat posted a IG picture many many moons ago. I will blog about this properly but I wanted to have to finished to gift it this week. She definitely liked it.

Not pictured I have finished my Totoro Mini quilt for the #studioghibliswap. I have also made (and forgot to photograph *sigh*) bunting for the Nursery School Bake Off competition, a Coco top for me that didn’t work out so well, and 5 zip pouches for various birthdays.

This little something was my favourite this month. The blue and the yellow just looked amazing together and I knew that the recipient would love it. My favourite thing is making something for someone special, thinking of them the whole time you are making it.

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I have felt disorganised and frustrated for most of February so I am going to get my thinking cap on, review my FAL Q1 post and work out what needs doing this month. Lists, lists and more lists. That always makes me feel better.

 

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Kate { February 2015 }

February 23, 2015

Kate22015

You had your hair cut this month into a bob like me.

And then you decided that you wanted to wear your hair up in “pig pony tails”.

Your favourite toy is Mr Potato Head this month.

Your current night time teddies are a Flamingo and a large white rabbit.

You wake every night and shout for us.

You like playing pretend schools.

You are extremely stubborn and if you do not get your way will cry and scream for hours.

You like things in threes – because you are 3.

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Piran { February 2015 }

February 22, 2015

Piran22015You have been poorly for a long couple of weeks. A cough and a virus.

You loved having your cousins to stay for a few days in half term.

You really love pizza at the moment.

I am reading ‘The Robber Hotzenplotz’ to you at bedtime.

You drew your own chart for good behaviour and give yourself ticks.

Bedtime was great when you were ill. I know you are better as last night wasn’t good.

Your favourite indoor game at the moment is hide and seek.

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Hexagon Pin Cushion Caddy Tutorial

February 19, 2015

Hexagon Pin Cushion Caddy

Today I am over at the Simply Solids blog sharing a tutorial I found on Instagram for this brilliant Pin Cushion Caddy. I have made two now and I love them both. These will make great gifts for stitchy friends and family this year. Not these ones though. The one made from Priory Square is off to Simply Solids HQ and the other one is mine, all mine.

Hexagon Pin Cushion Caddy2

Go and check it out for yourself. It is a hand sewing EPP project and great fun.

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Back soon

February 18, 2015

Kite1

Things that mean I have no time to write a blog post:

Sick Children

Half Term

Visiting Family

Happily the sick child is better now. We have had a lovely time with visiting family, who have now moved on, but we are still only half way through half term.

If I survive I will be back in a few days!

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A…Adventures { West Wittering }

February 10, 2015

Making plans with people at this time of the year is tricky. When there are up to 13 of you getting together a lunch out is definitely on the cards but after that you just have to cross all your fingers and toes and pray that a plan to meet at the seaside is not complete madness that ends in frostbite. And so we headed West to see Kat and Heather on Sunday.

West Wittering6

The universe was smiling on us and on Sunday as we stepped onto the sands at West Wittering I couldn’t believe how warm it was. The skies were spotless blue and the sun shined down on us. Coats and shoes were shed by children, a couple of layers removed by the adults. I have reached the part of the winter that I struggle with most, when everything seems so cold and bleak all the time and I am unable to remember what warm feels like. Sunday was a promise of something really special to come.

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My children were so happy, Piran with playmates, Kate happy to just bimble about in her own little way. I love the beach, the sea, it is where I really feel myself and I love seeing them take so much pleasure from sand, somewhere to jump safely.

West Wittering4

Places to pick things up, and bury others. Sandcastles to be made and holes to be dug. Shells to be examined and strange stones to be collected. After months of being indoors it was bliss for them.

West Wittering1

There was tea and hot chocolate. Biscuits provided by Heather. I took some pictures but my heart wasn’t in it, I just wanted to be present and soak up every last moment of sunshine and everyone being together. It is really hard to get six children in one shot unless they are lining up for treats. I love this picture though, all happy doing their thing.

West Wittering2

One by one each family left until it was just Kate, Piran and I left. If it hadn’t been a school day the next day I would have wrapped them back up and made them watch the sunset. I am not sure that is something that we have ever done together so that is definitely on my list for this year.

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West Wittering stole my heart, so similar to the beaches of my home, my childhood but only an hour and a bit away not seven hours! I am dying to go back again already, this time with Mr C for sure. The light was beautiful, and standing at the edge of the sea always makes me feel so calm and centered, something really lacking in the past few weeks. Eventually I dragged myself back into the car and headed home, sandy and so very happy.

West Wittering

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#1day12pics { February }

February 8, 2015

Yesterday was just a normal Saturday and we didn’t have any plans. I considered waiting until today for #1day12pics as I knew there would be lots to photograph on a day out but thinking about it I realised that it would be really nice to capture an ‘ordinary’ day. These are the days that we will forget easily, with nothing special to mark their passing. We had a really lovely day.

1day12pics February 2015

Blue sky through the curtains, playmobil in the bath, woolly hat weather, making friends in the park, water droplets off the swan’s beak, bulb shopping in Lewes.

1day12pics February 2015

Library choices on #NationalLibrariesDay, a robin in the garden centre, homemade pasta, cacti for the bathroom, old items found in a drawer, a new hairdo for my teacup.

I hope you are having a lovely weekend. I am taking the kids to West Wittering today to meet up with Heather and Kat. Very exciting. Hoping it is not too cold!

Yours Truly

Time to Talk Day 2015

February 5, 2015

Thursday 5 February 2015 is Time to Talk Day, and we’re asking the nation to take 5 minutes to have a conversation about mental health.

A random email yesterday lead me to read this post from October 2011. Which made me remember that today is Time to Talk Day – Led by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness it is England’s biggest programme to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination. And so I thought that I would publish this post again. This was a long time ago now, and life for me as a mum is very different now. But back then I wasn’t afraid to tell people that I had Post Natal Depression, and I will always be happy to talk about it if it helps other people understand that they are not alone, and that it is okay to feel like this. I also like this post because it reminds me that being kind to someone can make a huge difference. I have never met the woman at the side of the pool again but her kindness helped me in a way she will never know.

I was so excited to take Kate to her first swimming lesson. I took Piran when he was just five weeks old but second time round I wasn’t quite so organised so I had to wait for a space on a course when she was around 10 weeks old. After taking Piran for so long I felt like an old pro at this so slung all the bits and pieces I would need into a bag and set off to our usual pool. I arrived and went and got us changed, and nervously checked out the other mums and babies. It seemed a little strange as there were three there and they were all chatting away like they knew each other already. A bit put off because I have always been rubbish at starting conversations and when people are already friendly they don’t tend to include people I sat at the side of the pool and held my baby girl. For once she wasn’t crying which was a relief anyway. We were early, and they seemed to be running late, but the last class had to finish soon and although Kate was starting to get restless I thought we would be in the pool soon.

Then the teacher looked up at me from the pool and asked if this was Kate’s first lesson. I said that it was and she explained that I had the time wrong. Our class didn’t start for another 30 minutes.

I could feel the eyes of everyone on me. The mums in the pool with their babies. The mums waiting to go in the pool with their babies. I felt so stupid. I got hot and flustered. The temperature in the room is always crazy hot anyway and even in a swimsuit I feel boiling. I got hotter and hotter and I could feel that empty hollow shameful feeling in my stomach and my chest and rising, through my troat reaching my eyes. They got hotter and hotter and the tears began to well up. I held my baby girl close, her heat making me hotter and I just wanted to disappear. I felt huge and fat and hot and bright red and now I was crying and I couldn’t stop. I hid it behind my baby, swiping at my eyes, hoping that no one would notice. It was all to obvious and you could tell that the other mums didn’t know where to look or what to say.

I took Kate to the changing room and got my towel to try and wipe away the tears. I took deep breaths to try and calm my racing heart. I wanted to leave but I didn’t want to ruin this special experience for Kate and for me. I know that she would never have known but I would have and getting anywhere with a small baby is so hard that leaving would just make me feel like even more of a stupid failure. I left the changing rooms as the mums came in from the pool, perhaps they offered words of comfort, we have all been there, forgotten something, the baby brain gets us everytime, I just cannot remember.

I went and sat at the side of the pool again and the teacher asked if I was okay. I couldn’t speak, I knew any words would restart the tears and then they would never stop. I think I mumbled something about feeds, and not knowing if she would last but I would try. The next half hour was the longest I can ever remember. The panic had set in and the tears kept sneaking out. All of the constant worries that I always had as a mum of a newborn flittered around my mind, would she need milk, how tired was she, would she start to cry. How long since she last ate, what time would we make it home, would she scream if she was hungry. After a while a lady joined me who was early for the class I was meant to be in and she started to talk gently to me. It was obvious I was in a real state. She saved my sanity in the end that day, she distracted Kate when she cried, she talked about babies and about nothing in particular and time started moving again and I started to feel a little better. We got in the pool, we swam, she loved it and I went home in pieces.

~   ~   ~

This memory is one that has stuck with me. When I think of my journey with PND this is the one instance that made me realise just how bad things had got. Thankfully I have a wonderful husband who I could talk to about it, and I wasn’t afraid to go to the doctor and say that I thought something was wrong. Other women may not have the support or be able to be upfront and open about how they are feeling. I remember getting quite mad at a Health Visitor at baby clinic as when I tried to discuss a course they were going to send me on she turned her back and started whispering to me like it was something that I should hide. If one person out there reads my story and feels that they might not be so alone after all, then that is something positive from a really difficult time in my life. And that really helps me.

Kate and I on a good day - Summer 2011

Kate and I on a good day – Summer 2011

Please take five minutes today to have a conversation about Mental Health. Find out more and pledge your time here.

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A month of…

February 2, 2015

A long time ago, back in October 2013 I tried to join in and do ‘A month of’ something. The concept being that it takes at least 21 days to form a new habit and hopefully by the end of a month of doing something it just becomes part of your usual routine. I managed one month of early nights and then never did anything again. But it is something that has stayed with me and I like the idea of focusing on one month only so I thought I would have another go. Funnily enough, although I don’t go to bed early all the time it really stuck with me the difference a lot of sleep could have to my mood and well being.

A month of No Alcohol

In January I decided that it was probably a good idea not to drink for a while. I wasn’t joining in with Dry January but I felt after the season of indulgences that my body could probably do with a bit of a break. That and I was in the habit of drinking a glass of wine most days and it was starting to creep earlier, especially at the weekend.

In the end I found it really quite easy. There were a few 3 year old tantrums that had me yearning for a drink and the flood, mice and rats would have been reason enough to give up but I didn’t. Mr C did it too (although with a couple of exceptions) and he said that he felt better and brighter. I am not so sure that I felt any different really. However I did lose 8lbs over the month which was needed! That could be a mix of things as I actually did some exercise (OMG!!!) and was trying to eat less rubbish (I didn’t really succeed).

I had my first drink on Friday, so not quite the full month off. A very lovely couple of glasses of wine were consumed and it made it feel more like a Friday I felt. I woke feeling fine, but had a dreadful headache in the middle of the day resulting in me heading to bed. I don’t think it was alcohol related but it is something to be aware of in future I think. I do think though that less alcohol is probably a good thing so I am going to restrict myself somehow. Maybe just the weekend, or just drinking when I am not at home. I finished the bottle yesterday but I am not bothered that I do not have any more.

And so to February. I always struggle with this month. I hate the cold. I hate all the weather. I do like really bright days but only when you can feel a little warmth. And so I need something to focus me, to make me feel more positive. So I am have stolen Victoria’s idea and I am going to do a little something every day to make the house ‘better’. (click on that link – how amazing is that little snowdrop in the blue vase? Perfection). I am going to write a list of all the niggly spaces and things in the house and tackle them one by one. Hopefully I will be able to find ways to join in with a couple of hashtags I have been meaning to #stylingtheseasons and #theeverydayspruce as well which would be great.

Have you ever given up or done something special for a fixed period of time? I would love to hear about it.

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From the Studio { January }

January 31, 2015

studio view january

From the first visit to my studio this month I decided to take a picture of the view every day that I am there. I am really looking forward to recording them all and seeing how it changes throughout the seasons. This month bought one great day when the shadow of the building looked like a dog, and even a tiny bit of snow. I love trees with bare branches against blue skies.

January Makes

Inside the studio (top row) I started the month with these items on my design wall and a list on a paper bag. On one visit I started to play around with a fat eighth bundle of Oakshott cottons.

(Middle row) Playing with layouts of the Oakshott blocks. My finished mini quilt for Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt swap, something very different from my usual style but very well received by my partner. A Fancy Sailor Top made with this amazing Echinacea print from Anna Maria Horner. I think it is Rayon, I haven’t sewn with it before and it was quite hard to cut I found. I also made a bit of a bodge so the neckline isn’t great. It is wearable with a cardigan though and so very comfortable. I definitely want to make more of these.

(Bottom row) Using up every last scrap of a Kate Spain charm pack with a little improv. The bright cushion was made for one of Kate’s friend’s 3rd birthday.

Not pictured I have been working on a Totoro Mini quilt for the #studioghibliswap and I made a Kindle cover for my step mum’s birthday. I made a little something for an IG friend for my Make a Friend swap. Finally I made a kit bag for Mr C to take to the gym.

Oakshott Blocks

After deliberation about the layout of these blocks I went back and made twice as many. I love the layout but it will be an odd size if I sew it together like this – 40″ by 30″. I am thinking that the answer could be sew them together in the diamond shapes of 4 blocks and then add sashing. Not sure what colour, and what will go with the Oakshott fabrics. Any suggestions gratefully received.

My last morning in the studio this month was spent making my first ever Bee Block. I have joined a virtual quilting bee and this month we are making these blocks for our Queen Bee. I love how it turned out so much. I don’t usually make many ‘proper’ quilt blocks and I enjoyed this very much. I am going to make one for myself too, and will do that each month so at the end I will have a record of all that I made for a sampler quilt.

Done! Love this block. I'm thinking I might make a second for me and save them all up for a sampler at the end of the year.    hope you like it x

Wow, when you sit down and write it all down that is a lot of sewing. I am so happy that I have my place to go and hide from real life and just sew. I am a very lucky girl indeed. Sewing soothes my soul like nothing else.

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