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Taking the stabilisers off

2014 July 24
by Kelly

As Kate turned 3 at the start of May I made a decision that I wanted to start trying to come of my antidepressants. It has been three years of taking them, although I would say that I have only got the right dose and combination of medicines over the past 18 months to a year that have made me feel level. However these days there are many many more good days than bad and I have been feeling more and more that it is time to take the stabilisers off. A scary thought. There were many reasons why this isn’t perhaps the best time – we still have difficulties with sleeping and lack of sleep is a massive factor in my depression. Mr C is back traveling for work after the majority of 2013 at home and that puts a lot of pressure on me. I am just finding my feet and working out where I fit in this life of ours.

However, just like there is no perfect time for having a baby there is no perfect time for making a change like this. I have been to all the classes, attended the CBT courses. I have talked it through with friends and family. It was time to try. If it doesn’t work then that that is okay. Nothing lasts forever, I can try again in the future.

These things are not a sudden change however. I started gradually reducing my dose and I am now taking half of what I had been. And so far so good. At times great even. I have found myself stopping and thinking how happy I am more and more recently.(Sing along: Because I’m Happy….) I am making sure that I take time to appreciate what is going on around me. I am trying to teach myself what my priorities should be. That if my children want me to slow down, cuddle, play with them then that is what I should do. That sometimes it is fine to just take the easy option. That Kate is just as happy with a party at the local garden centre (or centre garden as she calls it) as she would be with one at home and there is a lot less clearing up to do after. I am trying to be involved in things by doing what I can manage, not what I think others think I should be doing. Something is better than nothing.

I am being brave. I have heard two people speak recently that have been reinforcing this message in my mind. Jo Cho at Blogtacular talked about embracing change and being brave. And so I am trying to be braver. Talk to people. Make the first move to develop new friendships. Make myself get out there and do things that are going to make my life better no matter how much it scares me. Catlin Moran blew me away last weekend. Almost every word she spoke had me nodding or laughing or clapping. But best of all she spoke of faking it until you make it. If you don’t feel able to do something, picture someone you know who could do it and then just pretend to be them.

And that is how I ended up volunteering to be the coordinator for the Nearly New Sales in our village. I can be that person. Organised, capable, sociable. I can be involved and make new friends and give something back. It scares me half to death, and I am sure there will be plenty of bumps along the way but I can imagine how it will feel when I have actually done it.

I am also keeping track of the clues that I have come to recognise as indicators that I am not doing so well. Bouts of irrational anger, stubbornness, withdrawal from people and places, craving to be alone. I have had my bumpy days but so far they have just been that, not signs of slipping back down that spiral.

There is plenty that I can do to help myself. Be aware of how I am feeling, being kind to myself. Writing. I have a new journal (a fancy red moleskin lined notebook). I don’t write often but I write when I need to. I find that writing down my thoughts and worries lifts me and makes me feel that I can relax again. I should write here more about me, but I always have so much I want to say about everything else and rarely get the opportunity to sit down and just dump it all out of my brain. I have decided on a new family moto – If in doubt go out – and this is helping me. I am remembering that as much as I love relaxing and loafing when the time is right I am happiest when we are off having an adventure. Or just outside in the garden drinking a cup of tea. Remembering my word of the year ‘Live’.

Summer starts for us tomorrow – with Piran’s last day of school and there is much that I am looking forward to. I have that summer holiday feeling and instead of dreading being home with two children for six weeks I am working on being excited about all the great things that we can do and everything I have planned. And at the end of the month I am going to drop my dose of antidepressants again. It is scary taking the stabilisers off but until you do you can never feel the freedom and pride in doing something all by yourself.

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Disclosure: The red Moleskin journal was sent to me by Viking Direct - along with some other stationery items that I will be featuring in other posts.

School daze

2014 July 14
by Kelly

There are six school days left until the end of the school year.

SIX DAYS.

Piran on his first day of school.

Piran on his first day of school.

The shiny new baby boy that we dropped off in his new school uniform at the start of September last year is now a mud covered, cheeky, sometimes writing, sometimes reading schoolboy. With thoughts and opinions. Full of information and questions. Sharing things he has been learning about. Telling me facts like there is no chance I could possibly already know them myself.

At his Art Exhibition with his picture of him swimming.

At his Art Exhibition with his picture of him swimming.

The good news is that in the main he likes school. He has made some lovely friends, seems quite popular and is happy to go along most days. We have had tears and tantrum from extreme tiredness, we have had elated highs – the days he gets a certificate or goes on the rainbow that day. We have had everything in between – tea and playing round people’s houses, birthday parties, sports day, nativity, mega tantrums where I every other person in the school has walked past as I have dragged him into school.

School has actually been good for me too. I have lived in this village for seven years but it wasn’t until Piran started school that I actually have people that I would call friends. I am shy and an introvert by nature but I swore to myself that when he started school I would make the effort to speak to at least one person in the playground while we are picking up and dropping off. And I have. And I have made new friends. People that I can call on for the occasional favour. Mums to spend time with after school on a Friday drinking wine while our kids go all Lord of the Flies in the garden. Others that I meet regularly to sew and chat. It feels good. Really good.

The past couple of weeks in the run up to the end have been a whirlwind of things to remember, events to attend, things to provide for this and that. Raffle tickets, art exhibitions. This week it is Sports Day (take 2 – we got rained off on Friday), a class assembly, an open evening, meeting next year’s teachers and Breakout Day at the end of the week when they get to do a fun activity. My head is spinning with everything I need to remember.

And so here we are, with Piran excited about starting in Year 1, me quite scared about a whole summer with two children to amuse, and trying desperately to get prepared before the end of school. I am determined not to have to do all my shopping for school uniform with the kids in tow so I am planning to get it done this week. I will raid the school for jumpers and polo shirts with logos on and head to the supermarket and high street for the rest. With a bit of luck I can have it all squirreled away and then all I will have to worry about is playing in the sun, meeting friends and having fun.

This post contains a link that I have been compensated to include. Further information can be found on my Disclosure for Readers page.

And the winner is…

2014 July 13
by Kelly

Sorry this is a little delayed. I got knocked sideways by a cold last week and with Mr C being away everything just got left for a while.

Anyway. I used Rafflecopter to draw the winner of my Mini Quilt Giveaway and the winner was Snafflesmummy. Congratulations!

Now I am off to rest and dream up when I am going to make.

 

Video: When You Were Away

2014 July 11

Mr C has been in Athens for almost two weeks. While he was there the children and I shot loads of video of all the things that we did and I made it into this movie, my second project for the Creating Time Capsules course. It is a bit long at just over 5 minutes but it is really special for me. It can be hard to communicate and share things when he is away – I feel he can miss so much, and we miss him so much. It was great to have a project and lovely sharing it with him when we all woke up in the same house this morning.

When you were away from Kelly-Marie Cheesley on Vimeo.

Guest Post: How to store your craft supplies to make them last longer.

2014 July 11
by Kelly

This post is bought to you in association with Cheap Art Supplies. For more information on this type of post please see my Disclosure for Readers page. This is obviously a subject close to my heart as I have a lot of craft supplies!

How to Store Your Craft Supplies to Make Them Last Longer

Crafters love their stash. There’s something very satisfying in seeing all those expensive supplies, glittering and beckoning from drawers and shelves. There’s also something very disappointing about going for a crafting item and finding it no longer works. Often, it’s simply reached its life limit, but at other times it’s because it wasn’t stored properly. Here are a few tips on caring for basic crafting and artist’s supplies.

Storing Paper Craft Supplies

If you’re into paper crafts such as scrapbooking, rubber stamping or making greetings cards, you’re probably already aware of the importance of using acid free paper in your creations. It’s the acidic compounds in standard, everyday paper that causes papers to turn yellow and brittle over time. Memory book supplies, especially, need careful storage as these are intended to last a lifetime.

With all papers, you should store them flat. Layer large sheets of card stock in drawers. If you have an old chest of drawers this is ideal, but transparent sets of craft drawers, readily available in many home or DIY stores, are also fine.

Keep ink pads upside down, so the pad stays moist, and stack them on top of each other. Many of the cases are conveniently shaped so they’ll stack easily. Always clean rubber stamps thoroughly, removing all traces of ink from the raised rubber sections. If left, over time the ink will build up and you’ll get a smudged stamped image, especially on fine designs.

Care and Storage of Artist Materials

Paints and brushes don’t come cheap, so caring for the ones you have is better than constantly buying new ones. Oils and acrylic paint in tubes can dry out over time so screw all the caps on firmly after use. Watercolour pans are easier to look after because water reactivates them. Should any of them become muddied or mixed, a quick rinse will clean them up ready for use.

Brushes need more careful care. Oil, acrylic and watercolour brushes should always be thoroughly cleaned after use, before storage:

  • Oil Brushes – Wipe the excess paint off with a clean rag, rinse the bristles in white spirit then gently work household soap into the bristles. Give them a good rinse in clean water then dry the brushes off and stand them up in a jar or other container. Stand them on their handles so the bristles are in the air.
  • Acrylic Brushes – Treat them as you would water-colour brushes.
  • Water Colour Brushes – Rinse under running water, then lather the bristles gently with ordinary soap. Work it well into the base of the bristles to make sure all the paint is removed. When they’re clean, reshape the bristles and let them dry in the air. You can stand them up in a jar, like oil brushes, or lay them flat in a box. Just make sure they’re totally dry first. Never store brushes standing on their bristles as this will bend them and they’ll be ruined for painting.

Pens and Markers

Most pens and markers last longest when they’re stored horizontally, but with all you should make sure the caps are on properly to help prevent them drying out. There are some exceptions, such as Copic markers, which are okay stored vertically, although glitter pens are best laid flat. If you’re in doubt, check the care instructions on the packaging. Some manufacturers give basic instructions, especially if they need special care or storage conditions.

Don’t be a caught-out crafter. Take care of your supplies and your stash, so they’re ready and waiting when creative inspiration strikes.

 

Drew writes for Cheap Art Supplies, selling quality art materials for over 25 years.

 

Country Baskets Accessorise Yourself Challenge

2014 July 10
by Kelly

I do love a challenge and when I was contacted asking if I would like to enter a competition by Country Baskets I just couldn’t resist.

They would send me a box of crafty goodness and I needed to make a wedding accessory. I must admit I was in full wedding fever at the time because I was just finishing all my crafts for my brother’s wedding so I thought it would be easy. Always read the small print though as I initially thought that it was to make a decoration or accessory (it wasn’t just accessory) and we had to use at least five items from the eight I was sent.

asscessorise yourself supplies

After some deliberation I decided that I would make a corsage. I used the artificial flowers (I started with a rose but in the end used what I think is meant to be hydrangea) and a leaf from the bouquet. I glued them together at the base with my hot glue gun and added in one of the cute butterflies made of beads on wire. I then used the organza to make a flower – I used this tutorial. I wanted a really fluffy flower so I used 9 circles of the organza. I took some beads off the garland that was included and sewed them into the middle of the flower to add some sparkle. I glued it on and added wire to make the stem longer. This I then wrapped in ribbon backed with double sided tape.

wedding corsage organza

I think it looks great and it will look like that the whole day long – no need to worry about fresh flowers drying out and wilting. I think my favourite bits are the organza flowers and the little butterly – it is so sweet. These could easily be adapted to suit the colour or theme of a wedding.

wedding corsage

All it needed was a safety pin to attach it to my dress. If I had one I would have used a magnet – my mum had these for the corsages I made with her and they stay on without having to pin something on your dress which was fabulous.

 

Finish Along 2014 – Quarter 3

2014 July 8
by Kelly

So in Quarter 2 I planned ten projects and completed six. Not bad going. Three have been carried over and one has been discarded for now.

This quarter I am determined to start making some clothes for me. I bought Tilly Walnes – Love at First Stitch and it looks great for getting making clothes so I just need to get started. I have purchased the fabrics for four different projects for me I just need to get on with it.

1) The Just Big Enough Blanket {carried over}

This is Mr C’s Christmas present that I STILL haven’t finished. I am just not in a crochet mood at the moment. It is too warm. Looks like this is more likely to be Christmas 2014′s present.

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2)Hexagon cushions {carried over}

Finish the hexagon cushions for my room. I did manage to machine quilt the fronts and pick the fabrics for the backs. I bought the zips. I just need to cut the backs and sew them up. A couple hours work at most but it is one of those things that just keeps getting put off. I might still add some hand-quilting but I am not sure.

Um this one is still hanging around and I don’t know why. Weird.

3) Washi Dress for me {carried over}

Still not actually started this. Just need to make a muslin of the bodice and then I will get going I think. First step is to print and put the pattern together.

4) Coco for me

I have the pattern and the fabric. I just need the balls to try sewing with a knit fabric. Also, the weather is a bit warm for this at the moment so maybe this will be towards the end of the quarter.

5) Wiksten Tank

I have the pattern and the fabric. I have even made one of of muslin to test the fit. I just need the balls to do the binding on the armholes and neck. That bit scares me. I also think that I need a proper hem gauge.

6) Competition Mini Quilt

What this will actually be is linked to the winner’s preferences but I am excited to make something for someone new.

7) Sample Swap goodies for Fat Quarterly Retreat.

I am planning needle books and have everything set aside to make them. Making it up as I go along though.

8) Embroidered hoop

This is an overdue birthday present that I have been working on. It is pretty labour intensive and I want to have it done by the end of July.

9) Triangle City

I finished my EPP project started in Katie’s class at FQR last year. I need to applique it to a backing and make it into a cushion as a present for someone.

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10) Tiles Mini Quilt

Started and never finished months ago, I want to get started with this again. I think the fact I am not great at matching points (it is made from quarter square triangles) is putting me off but I need to accept that it won’t be perfect but it will be brilliant.

Stuck in my mind

2014 July 7
by Kelly

stuck600

Happy Friday everyone.

*cough* Happy Monday Everyone.

Seems I completely missed Friday (in my defense there was the school fayre and ice lolly Friday and a course I am going to, and some rather pokey Pimms at the school fayre….)
Also with Mr C away in Athens (I know. Lucky Sod) time for perusing the internet has passed me by somewhat. However this post caught my eye last night so I thought I would share it now.

Picture this: In defence of the selfie.

Great points that made me nod and think.

And I would like to add my own opinion. For me, selfies are the best thing since Smart Phones because finally I am in the pictures. And I don’t just mean 4,573 photos of my feet as Piran has my phone again. I mean happy smiling silly photos that are full of my family. I am in the frame and let’s be honest if it wasn’t me taking pictures of me then there would be a lot less of them to see. A lot less to stick in our albums to be looked through by my family, my children and hopefully their children in the future. I don’t want it to be “Where’s Mum?” I want it to be “There’s Mum with that great big stupid smile on her face”.

I make myself look past the crows feet and bags under my eyes. No one else ‘Sees’ them as I see them. They see a family shot full of love and happiness. They see a tender moment between child and parent. They see me out there, doing the things that I love, sharing the things that make me smile.

Kelly

Yep some people might think the selfie is a conceited way of showing off. Not round here it is not. It is our very own way of saying:

#saycheesley*

Normal service will resume this Friday**.

*Yep. That’s right. We have our own selfie hashtag. Instagram doesn’t get better than this.
**If I remember it is Friday of course.

Fat Quarterly Retreat 2014

2014 July 6
by Kelly

I REALLY wasn’t going to go – the weekend of the 19th / 20th is the weekend that we are having Piran’s birthday party this year and so I didn’t buy a ticket. But then I saw that they had released day tickets for Saturday and then we had to change the party of the Sunday afternoon. Then I saw the class list and all reserve crumbled.

So very quickly as it is less than 2 weeks before I go here is a quick post about little old me. Last year’s had much more information but this year I will just say.

This is me:

And this is me now.

Me.

I still have last year’s name tag. I do fancy making myself one but if I am being reasonable I do not have time. That may not stop me though. I am very excited to see some sewing faces from last year and hope that they remember me. And talking to some that I have chatted to on IG and Twitter since last year. No dormitory bunk for me this year, just the train to and from Lewes.

While you are here you could enter my competition to win a mini quilt made by me for you. You have until the end of Tuesday 8th to enter.

#theyearinbooks {July}

2014 July 6
by Kelly

I had planned to read something other than just my usual type of books in June but it was a very hectic month and I didn’t even pick up a book until the end of the month. And so I ended up reading two that had been hanging around for months.

Meet Me At The Cupcake Cafe – Jenny Colgan

I just couldn’t quite get into this one. I did read it to the end but I can’t really say I enjoyed it and the bit at the very end seemed completely pointless. Odd because I do  usually like her books.

Diva’s Don’t Knit – Gill McNeil

I enjoyed this a bit more – did get caught up in the story a bit and had to keep reading. Some good characters that I liked reading. The narrators voice was a bit intense at times – the sentences are long and rambly. This stays consistent through the book so it is obviously the main character’s personality but I just found reading it a bit full on at times. A nice read.

July books

Bit of a rubbish month really. I bought myself a book on art journalling last week which I was very interested to read but I have put it down somewhere and I can’t find it. Bloody annoying. We have a new Waterstones in Lewes (it has a cafe – what shop in Lewes would be complete without one – but you pay for your books at the same counter that you order coffee and buy cake. This is wrong. I don’t want crumbs on a book I am yet to read anything of.) I have been meaning to go and spend a while perusing for something to read. I have promised to buy myself a copy of Kate Atkinson’s Life after Life because I listened to it as an audiobook but for the first time ever I feel that I need to actually read it too. So maybe that can be this month’s book. It is also my birthday in July so maybe I will get something book like as a present.

In the meantime I did a mad dash into the library and grabbed these three. Small children were harrassing me and begging to let them take out books that they couldn’t read and wouldn’t enjoy so I hardly know what I have got.

#theyearinaudiobooks {June}

The Silkworm – Robert Galbraith (loved it).

As always, linking up with Circle of Pine Trees for #theyearinbooks.